CUYAHOGA FALLS — The Brunswick baseball team had plenty of opportunities when it opened the season against perennial power Walsh Jesuit.
The Blue Devils found out how costly it is to let those moments pass against top-level competition in a 12-6 non-league loss.
“We’re not going to go out there against cupcakes,” Brunswick coach Grant Relic said. “If we expect to be the best at the end, then we’re going to challenge ourselves,”
Brunswick (0-1) loaded the bases in five of the innings but didn’t get a hit until junior Mike McFadden drove home senior Dylan Nagy, who started the top of the seventh inning with a pinch-hit single.
McFadden added a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded when he grounded the ball to Warriors third baseman Nathan Stahl. The first baseman added a double in the sixth.
The Blue Devils only scored four runs with the bases loaded, including three unearned, against Walsh Jesuit (2-0).
“We have a lot of young guys, some getting their first varsity at-bats today,” catcher Mike Williams said. “As the season goes, I think they’ll be more aggressive and start hitting fastballs the other way, stuff like that.”
Add in defensive woes sweeping through Brunswick, which made five errors, and it was too much to overcome against the fourth-ranked team in the Prep Baseball Report Division I poll.
“Defensively, we took ourselves out of the game with errors,” left fielder Jacob Scherette said.
Walsh Jesuit stormed ahead with four runs in the bottom of the second inning, capped by a two-out RBI double by senior Evan Swan to take a 4-2 lead.
The Warriors extended to 6-3 heading into the fourth, but a Blue Devils rally appeared on the horizon.
Sophomore Jacob Dye and Williams walked with two outs, and catcher Josh Kross singled to load the bases. McFadden launched a rope to left field, but Jake Armsey raced back and made a running catch.
Brunswick loaded the bases again in the fifth, when Fox reached on an error and Scherette and senior second baseman Kyle Goessler walked. The Warriors nearly escaped when relief pitcher Bobby Perebzak forced Scott Rouse to bounce back to the mound, but catcher Stanley Kaczmar threw the relay on a double play into right field, bringing home Scherette and Goessler to cut the deficit to 6-5.
Walsh Jesuit answered with five runs on four hits and sent 10 batters to the plate to extend the lead to 11-5.
The Blue Devils opened the game by taking a 2-0 lead through 1½ innings. McFadden brought home Rouse with a bases-loaded fielder’s choice, and Scherette blasted a first-pitch home run to right field.
“My approach was if I see a good fastball early in the count, that I just try to hit it hard,” Scherette said.
Walsh Jesuit 12, Brunswick 6
BRUNSWICK 111 020 1 — 7 10 5
WALSH 042 051 x — 12 8 2
WP — Yassir Kahook (1-0) 4 innings, 3 earned runs, 6 hits, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts. LP — Noah Herron 3 innings, 4 hits, 5 earned runs, 6 walks, 3 strikeouts. Brunswick (0-1) — Mike Williams single, double, 3 walks, run; Josh Kross 2 singles; Mike McFadden single, double, 2 RBI; Jacob Scherette single, home run, 2 walks, 2 runs. Walsh Jesuit (2-0) — Henry Kaczmar single, 2 runs, 2 RBIs; Erik Stern single, walk, 2 runs, RBI; Stanley Kaczmar 2 singles, double, 3 runs; Jake Armsey double, 3 runs; Aamir Qadri 2 RBIs, run.