The pitcher-catcher combination of brothers Adam and Mitch Rossit was too much to handle for the St. Thomas More Knights.
With Adam in total control on the mound for the first four innings, the Cardinal Newman Cardinals pounded the Knights 14-1 in a Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic Athletic Association baseball playoff game on Thursday (Oct. 17). Younger brother Mitch – a Grade 10 student – backed him up offensively by driving in four runs with three singles during the contest which ended after 4 1/2 innings due to the mercy rule at Mohawk Sports Complex.
The Cardinals advance to the league championship Tuesday at 1 p.m. at the Ancaster 4B diamond. Their opponent will be the defending champion Bishop Tonnos Titans, who downed the St. Mary Crusaders, 7-5, in the other semi-final.
Newman sent 14 batters to the plate in the first inning, scoring 10 times. The Cardinals struck for seven hits in that opening frame. In addition, they took advantage of four walks and four wild pitches. Adam Rossit also helped his own cause against third-place More (3-3) by drawing a walk, stealing a base and smashing a towering two-run double.
“It’s pretty exciting, actually,” Mitch Rossit said of the opportunity to call the pitches for Adam. “Me and my brother have never played on any team together except for high school baseball.
“We pitch together in the back yard and on the street all the time … but never in a game. He’s three years older than me.”
The Cardinals, whose only loss in six starts this season was to the first-place Titans, added a run in the third and three in the fourth against the first two More pitchers, Justin Stephenson and Matt Holman. Left-handed reliever Ethan Hammond-Srsan stuck out the side in the fifth for Newman to end the game.
“We gelled on offence and defensively we really shut the door on them,” Newman coach Matt Di Cosmo said. “And we’re a young team with a bunch of Grade 10s. We’re capable of scoring a lot of runs. Our game plan was to run it up high and get them out of the game right away.”
During the regular schedule, More lost only 4-0 to Newman.
Third baseman Noah Skirrow, shortstop Joey Brown and first baseman Tyrell Hebert were the other Cardinals to do major damage offensively. Brown, with four singles, scored four times. He also knocked in a run and stole a base. Skirrow reached base safely four times with two walks, a single and a two-run double, while Hebert plated a pair of runs with two singles.
A highlight for More was the defensive play of left fielder Josh Fornier, who made two outstanding catches of fly balls while on the run. One was an over-the-shoulder grab. And both prevented base runners from scoring. At the plate, More’s third baseman Justin Jeffrey socked a double and a single.
More’s only run scored on a balk by Rossit.
On the subject of the shutout-breaking balk, Mitch Rossit said: “He (Adam) is not a pitcher, so he really doesn’t get too much time. I guess he didn’t know about the rule. That’s the way it goes.”
Adam is a shortstop in club ball for the Ontario Blue Jays.
Mitch, Hebert and Skirrow are scheduled to be in South Carolina this weekend playing in a baseball tournament with the younger age group of Ontario Blue Jays. There, scouts will likely be in attendance.
“I want to make it big (in baseball),” said Hebert, a 6-foot-4, 185-pounder who plays first base for More and pitches for the Ontario Blue Jays. “High school baseball is helpful. It gets you more practice and at-bats. I’m strictly a pitcher on the OBJs, so I don’t get to bat there. Here, I can maintain my swing.”
In the other semi-final, Tonnos rallied from a 4-3 sixth-inning deficit to eliminate the Crusaders, who had won their quarter-final last week over the Cathedral Gaels. The Titans got clutch hitting by Nolan Roth, Jacob Underwood, Mackenzie Hammond, Francesco Tavomina and Kevin Guild.
“I feel we can beat them,” Skirrow said of the upcoming matchup against Tonnos. “This year they’ve lost quite a few players.”