CUYAHOGA FALLS: The North Coast League is a new baseball home for Walsh Jesuit, but the Warriors are certainly making themselves comfortable.
A day after finishing off Mentor Lake Catholic in five innings in their NCL debut, the Warriors used the pitching of Michael Marsinek and home runs from Cassidy Brown and Drew Miletti to sweep the Cougars with a 6-3 victory at home.
Marsinek, a senior left-hander, improved to 3-0 by striking out five, walking two and allowing four hits in six innings. Just one of the Cougars’ runs was earned. Brown, a junior catcher, got the save with a 1-2-3 seventh. The Cougars’ Tom Mulig took the loss.
Both Walsh Jesuit (4-1, 2-0) and Lake Catholic (2-4, 0-4) were trying to forget Monday’s 17-1 Warriors victory, which featured a 14-run fifth inning.
“I told the kids to put that behind us and concentrate on [Tuesday’s] game,” Warriors coach Chris Kaczmar said. “We played well, but they know that when they come in [today] to work out, there are things to work on.”
Just like Monday’s game, it was close entering the fifth inning. Miletti’s solo homer to left in the fourth broke a 2-2 tie, but the Cougars used two fielding errors and a stolen base to pull even in the top of the fifth.
Warriors freshman Blake Jenkins led off the bottom of the fifth with a single, sophomore Nathanael Romans reached with a double and it looked like another big fifth inning was in the making. The Cougars walked Brown to load the bases, and senior Zack Leonatti reached on a fielder’s choice to score Jenkins. But one run is all Walsh got.
With a 4-3 lead, Marsinek crushed any hopes of another Cougars rally with a groundout and two strikeouts in the bottom of the inning.
Then just like Monday, the Warriors took advantage of the Cougars’ relief pitching. Miletti led off the sixth with a double and later scored on an error. Giovanni Sassano scored on a fielder’s choice for the other run and a 6-3 lead.
That was more than enough for Brown to work with in the seventh for the save.
“We bounced back, but we are a very young team,” Lake Catholic coach Dennis Woods said. “Our defense let us down. That’s been our problem in every game so far. But Walsh is a good team. They don’t have all those banners [on the outfield fence] for nothing.”
Marsinek had to pitch out of a few jams. In the second, a leadoff single and a walk led to a Cougars run, but Marsinek got two groundouts to end the threat. In the fifth, the Cougars took advantage of two errors to even the score at 3-3. After a walk, the Cougars still had runners at first and second, but Marsinek handled a bouncer to the mound for the final out.
The Warriors’ lineup Tuesday featured four seniors, two juniors, two sophomores and a freshman.
Kaczmar even used sophomore Trevor Ray as a pinch-hitter in the sixth. Romans, one of the sophomores, had three hits. Jenkins, the freshman, had two singles.
“We have a lot of young players in our lineup,” Kaczmar said. “But our players need to know that we need production out of the players behind Cassidy.”
Brown had a two-run home run in the first to give the Warriors the lead. He was walked twice after that, the last time intentionally.
“I’ve been experiencing that a lot this year,” Brown said. “That was my fourth intentional walk in six games.”
As for his save opportunity, Brown wasn’t trying to get too fancy on the mound.
“Honestly, I’m not really a pitcher,” Brown said. “I just throw hard, and sometimes I try to mix in some spin.”
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