Heralds earn spot in D-IV district title with big win over Blue Devils

May 22—PARMA — Gentle complacency fighting reminders flowed between coaches and players on Tuesday afternoon as the Saint John baseball team jumped off to an early lead in a Division IV district semifinal game against Mottl Field on the campus of Tri-C West.

"We want to keep the pedal down," said Heralds coach Alvin Rodriguez after his team recorded a 12-2, six-inning win. "That is the theme this year."

Saint John, the fifth seed in the sectional-district, returns to Parma at 5 p.m. on Thursday for the district final.

They are scheduled to play Jeromesville Hillsdale, which defeated Ashland Mapleton 9-6 in the second semifinal contest on Tuesday.

The reason for the Heralds' don't let the pedal off the gas message stems from the district semifinal last year when the Heralds got off to a big early lead and then let it slip away losing to Hartville Lake Center Christian 8-7.

In the 2022 season, Saint John fell to Bristol 4-3 in the district tournament at Fairport Harbor.

With temperatures in the 80s on Tuesday, Rodriguez said the team did a great job, getting 15 hits and holding McDonald to just four.

Junior Will Anderson also pitched a six-inning complete game.

He allowed four hits, one earned run and two walks with nine strikeouts.

"Will is just a great baseball player and a great kid," Rodriguez said.

Anderson also pitched a 65-pitch, no hitter in Saint John's 11-0 sectional final win over Medina Christian Academy last week.

Against McDonald, Brady Cole, Ezra Campbell, Ryan Williams, Anthony Severino, Bryson Vennitti, Kyle Hejduk and AJ Henslee all collected two hits for ther Heralds (16-5).

Williams and Henslee both belted doubles.

"A.J. Henslee had two hits from our ninth [batting slot]," Rodriguez said.

Saint John scored five runs in the bottom of the first inning, hitting the ball that found the way to where McDonald fielders were not located.

McDonald head coach Andy Timko said the Heralds did a great job of using a wide batting stance and keeping the ball in play.

"That doesn't work all the time but it did today," he said. "We got down 5-0 and what are you going to do."

Saint John's Williams and Campbell both scored thee runs each. Eight diffrent players posted at least one RBI.

McDonald scored a run on a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning.

In the top of the sixth inning, Cole made a diving stop and threw out a McDonald runner at second base to shut down a rally.

That set the tone for a five-run bottom of the sixth inning to end the game.

Hillsdale, the third seed in the sectional-district, also blanked East Canton 10-0 to win a sectional championship.

Against Mapleton, Braylen Jarvis registered three hits and three RBIs for Hillsdale.

Jack Fickes went six innings for the pitching win. He gave up five runs (two earned), eight hits and one walk with five strikeouts.