CUYAHOGA FALLS: The present and probable future of the Walsh Jesuit baseball pitching rotation was on display Saturday afternoon.
The combination allowed just one hit to visiting St. Vincent-St. Mary as the Warriors captured a 4-0 nonleague victory over their rivals.
Walsh freshman right-hander Christopher Machamer (2-0) made the most of his first career start, pitching the first three innings and allowing only a single and a hit batter, striking out three.
Joe Mockbee, a senior left-hander, followed with more of the same. Mockbee, a University of Cincinnati recruit, closed out the game with four hitless innings, striking out six with a walk and a hit batter. He struck out the side in the seventh.
“Christopher Machamer was extremely sharp as was Joe Mockbee,” Walsh coach Chris Kaczmar said. “There was no letup when we switched pitchers to get their work in today and it’s good to beat our rival.”
Machamer is the regular second baseman and one of the Warriors’ best hitters, and has pitched an occasional inning of relief.
“[Kaczmar] just told me I was going to throw three innings, and then I was going to come out,” Machamer said. “I felt really good today, felt like I wanted to go more but I knew Coach was going to pull me so I was fine with that.”
He also scored the first run when Walsh (21-4) took a 2-0 lead in the second without a hit, aided by two St. V-M throwing errors. A well-executed suicide-squeeze bunt by sophomore Riley Minorik also scored senior Mark Mittiga.
The Warriors added two runs in the fifth. Senior Rory Ziegler walked and junior Gino Sassano singled, and both moved up on sophomore Blake Jenkins’ sacrifice. Junior shortstop Nate Romans drove in both runners with a single to right center to make it 4-0.
Kaczmar said Machamer earned his starting shot.
“He’s just been pitching so well we wanted to take a look at him, not just coming in in relief,” Kaczmar said. “So it’s a good problem to have with the depth of our pitching staff. We felt like he was deserving of a start, so we gave it to him.”
Mockbee, along with sophomore right-hander Ryan Feltner, would be considered the aces of the staff.
“I just thought of it as a start in my mind,” Mockbee said. “I was warming up just like I would as a starter just to get the same feel and have the same mentality as a start, even though it was in relief.”
Senior left-hander Andy Farrell and junior right-hander Corey Whaley each pitched three innings for the Fighting Irish, allowing a combined four hits. But youthful St. V-M (9-13), with just one senior in its lineup, never got more than one runner on base in any inning in its final regular-season game.
“I was happy with the way our guys threw today, Andy and Corey on the mound,” St. V-M coach Anthony Boarman said. “But that’s not a team you can make mistakes against. You have to put the pressure on them a little bit and we didn’t do that today.”
Walsh, co-champion of the North Coast League with Archbishop Hoban this season, will host its first postseason tournament game Friday against the Twinsburg-Copley winner. According to Kaczmar, the Warriors had some extra motivation Saturday because of their team chaplain’s impending retirement.
“Our victory today is dedicated to Father Emmitt Holmes,” Kaczmar said. “We’re celebrating his retirement after decades and decades of service to our baseball team and all of Walsh Jesuit athletics, so the kids played hard in his honor today.
“We’re going to a Mass and retirement party for him right now. No question, he’s the star of the show today.”
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