For five innings, it was all it was cracked up to be.
Mentor’s Kade McClure and Brunswick’s Jerry Salisbury were each throwing shutouts, and both teams that usually have no trouble scoring runs, were finding themselves frustrated at the lack of offensive support they were giving their pitcher.
That all changed in the last two innings.
Mentor used a three run sixth, a three run seventh, then held on for dear life in the bottom of the seventh to defeat Brunswick for the third time this season 6-3, to advance to the Division I regional final. They will take on Aurora, a 7-5 winner over North Canton Hoover.
Plavcan provides the big blow…. With runners on first and second and two outs in the top of the sixth, Cardinals junior Corey Plavcan lined a Salisbury pitch into the gap in left center, scoring Nick Delisa and Danny Trimble, giving the Cardinals a 2-0 lead. Plavcan would then score on an RBI single by junior Sam Vilk, giving the Cardinals a 3-0 lead. After plating three runs in the seventh, it looked like the end of the game would be a formality.
In the immortal words of ESPN’s Lee Corso, Brunswick said “Not so fast, my friend!”
The Blue Devils get to McClure in the seventh…. With their season on the line, Brunswick made one last final charge. They strung together four hits against McClure in the seventh, the same amount of hits they had the first six innings. Ohio State recruit Kyle Michalik provided the big blow, a two-run double to left, cutting the Mentor lead to 6-3. The rally would end there, and Mentor would advance to today’s regional final at 5pm against Aurora.
Pitching and defense win games…. McClure went the distance, giving up eight hits, striking out seven, while walking just one. He got two great defensive plays from center fielder Albert Giebel. Giebel took away a potential double away from the Blue Devils Joey Verbiak with a diving catch, then saved two runs later that inning by making a running catch on a ball hit by Cory Welsh, saving the Cardinals two runs, and potentially turning the tide in the Blue Devils favor.
Mentor sports have had quite a run…. This regional final appearance continues a great run for Mentor sports. No one will forget the thrilling wins over St. Edward and St. Ignatius during the Cardinals final four run. The Cardinals basketball team won their first ever state championship last winter, and now both the baseball AND softball teams are playing in regional finals for a berth in the state final four.