They say it’s hard to beat a team three times in one year.
Its especially hard when that team has played you close both games.
For the Mentor Cardinals, they are hoping to buck that trend.
For the Brunswick Blue Devils, they are hoping the third time is a charm
These two teams will meet for the third time this season, at Thurman Munson Field in Canton, Thursday at 5pm.
What’s at stake?
The winner of this regional semi-final game will take on the winner of the other semi-final between North Canton Hoover and Canton GlenOak, for the right to play in the state baseball “final four”.
Scouting Mentor…. The Cardinals, currently ranked 7th in the state of Ohio, finished the season with a 23-3 record, and won the always rugged Northeast Ohio Conference. Offensively, they are led by standouts Corey Plavcan, Jeff Foreman, Connor Krizancic, and Caleb Potter. Another rising star is freshman Matt Eisworth. This group allowed Mentor to outscore their opponets during the season 133-51. Where the Cardinals really excel is on the mound. Senior Danny Trimble, who also handles the catching duties, threw a three hit shutout, striking out nine in a 3-0 win over Riverside in the district semi-final. Junior and Louisville recruit Kade McClure pitched the Cardinals to a 3-1 win over Mayfield in the district final, striking out 10.
Big Game Experience?…. Though Mentor has fallen short of the regionals in baseball the last three years, this group of players do have big game experience. Plavcan, Krizancic, Potter and McClure were all members of the Mentor football team that reached the state semi-final game, and the same group, including Foreman, were members of Mentor’s state championship basketball team.
Scouting Brunswick…. The Blue Devils, currently ranked 11th in the state of Ohio, may be the hottest team left in the tournament, winning their last nine games. They finished right behind Mentor in the Northeast Ohio Conference. Currently sporting a 24-9-1 record, the Blue Devils have outscored their opponets on the season 209-93. The big bat in the Brunswick lineup is senior Kyle Wheeler, who also excels on the basketball court. Supporting the Brunswick offense are Kyle Michalik, Brian Lees, Gary Clift, Cory Welsh, Joey Verbiak, and Kyle Burson. The Blue Devils can also pitch with any team left in the tournament. Senior Gerry Salisbury has authored two pitching gems this year, shutting out state ranked Strongsville on a two-hitter, and a four hit 7-1 victory over Twinsburg in the district semi-final. Not to be out-done, Michalik offered up a compete game one-hitter in beating state ranked Hudson 3-0 in the district final.
Playing for a cause…. The Blue Devils have dedicated their season to four fellow students who were tragically killed in a graduation day accident almost one year ago. They also sported lime green jerseys for their district final game against Hudson, with the name “Flemming” on the back, in honor of fellow student Cora Flemming, who passed away earlier this month from bone cancer.
Who wins?…. Mentor has defeated Brunswick 2-1, and 3-1 in their two previous meetings, and don’t expect the scoreboard to be lighting up with runs the way these two teams can pitch. Expect another tight, well pitched, close game. Expect both teams to try and bump up the pitch count on both starters (assuming McClure and Michalik), to try and get to the bullpen of both teams. Mentor has been just a bit better all year, and will continue to be on Thursday. Mentor wins another tight game.
Should be a great game between two of Northeastern Ohio’s best teams.