LORAIN — Holy Name might want to consider sending thank you cards to Firelands after the gifts the Falcons handed the Green Wave on Monday.
Firelands committed five errors and uncorked three wild pitches to hand Holy Name six unearned runs in the Green Wave’s 7-4 Division II district semifinal win over the Falcons at The Pipe Yard. Holy Name moves on to play Benedictine in the district title game today at the Pipe Yard at 5 p.m.
“It’s pretty obvious what happened out there today,” Firelands coach Ted Busch said. “We came in with a good attitude and played to win. I thought four (runs) was going to be enough, but you can’t play defense that way. We beat ourselves today.”
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Falcons’ starting pitcher Brett Helton was masterful for five innings, but the strong performance went for naught.
He scattered seven hits, struck out five and walked just two while Firelands (16-12) jumped out to a 4-0 lead, but an unearned run in the fourth and four in the fifth chased him.
The Green Wave (14-12) led 6-4 when Helton left and added another unearned run in the sixth to put the game away.
“We did not turn the page, we did not forget about it, and we started pressing,” Busch said of the defensive mistakes. “We’re usually a very loose team and, for whatever reason, I think we felt the pressure out there today. We made some defensive mistakes we normally do not make.”
The Falcons had Holy Name starter David Javor in trouble early, scoring three runs in the bottom of the second and one in the third, but Javor settled down and silenced the Firelands bats the rest of the way, allowing no runs and just two hits after the third.
“He pitched brilliantly against Padua a couple of weeks ago, he pitched against Lake Catholic and beat them, and he was great in this game,” Holy Name coach Dennis Markiewicz said.
Still, Busch believes his team let Javor off the hook.
“I thought we had him on the ropes and they had someone warming up there in the third inning,” Busch said. “But we let him back into the game and those middle innings were huge for them.”
Markiewicz knew his team would have to control Firelands’ leadoff hitter Joe San Felippo. The Falcons senior entered the game with 159 career hits and had a single up the middle in the first, but Javor shut him down after that.
“I had another coach tell me to walk him, not to pitch to him,” Markiweicz said. “We went after him and struck him out twice.”
After the game, Helton didn’t want to focus on what his team had failed to accomplish. He instead wanted to honor his friend, Garrett Munholland, who had been his catcher since the earliest days of coach-pitch and little league.
Munholland was injured in a car accident prior to the season and was unable to play.
“We had a big loss with Garrett not being able to play this year,” Helton said.
“That was tough on us as a team and as people. A lot of people wrote us off after that, but I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish this year.”
Contact Mike Perry at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.