Nolan Roth of the Bishop Tonnos Titans used his arm, bat and glove to win a championship.
The Grade 12 right-hander pitched a complete game as Tonnos defeated the Bishop Ryan Celtics, 3-1, at the 2014 Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic high school baseball final on Monday (Oct. 27). Roth allowed just six hits during the seven-inning contest at Ancaster’s Matthew Krol Field. He struck out six and walked three.
In addition to his strong pitching performance, however, Roth drove in a run with a single. And in the field, he helped his own cause by making a string of defensive gems. In the second inning, for example, he snared a line drive for a put out. In the fourth inning, he caught a pop up and in the seventh he initiated a key double play.
To top that off, Roth got an assist on the game-ending smash back to the mound by Ian Jordan.
“That’s sort of what my strong point is … fielding,” Roth said. “I got lots of balls hit to me today, which was good.
“I’ve played second base before. That’s where my fielding comes from.”
Roth praised the entire Tonnos team – particularly third baseman Aiden Hannon – for the air-tight defence they provided. “I don’t think we had an error. Everybody played well. We got it done.”
It was the third consecutive HWCAA title for the Titans.
“There’s an old adage in this game, ‘hit it where they ain’t,’” Bishop Ryan coach Joe DiIorio said of Tonnos’s overall defensive effort. “I’m proud of our guys. We fought tooth and nail. We almost pulled out a nice little rally there at the end. A couple of inches …. a couple of bounces ….”
Tonnos, which finished first in the standings with a record of 5-0 before topping St. Mary in a semi-final, jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the third inning. Kevin Guild got the ball rolling when he legged out a chopper off the plate. Losing pitcher Brett Filko then threw a wild pitch and committed a throwing error attempting to pick the runner off second base. After a walk to Matt Grabstas, a double steal produced the opening run. Jacob Hanes’s RBI ground out to the second baseman plated the second run.
The Celtics, 3-1-1 during the regular schedule prior to a semi-final win over the Cathedral Gaels, got their lone run in the fourth inning. Filko and Tyreak Broome reached base safely with solid two-out singles before Tommy Thompson and Kameryn Bain drew back-to-back walks.
But Tonnos regained a two-run lead in its half of the fourth – Jake Stephenson lashed a double to left field, advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Hannon and came home on Roth’s infield single.
“They played small-ball, for sure,” DiIorio said of the Titans. “I’ve got to tip my cap to Bishop Tonnos. They are solid in every which way, pitching, offence and defence. They are an exciting team to watch.”
Zach Cameron pitched a 1-2-3 sixth after coming on in relief for Bishop Ryan. Filko scattered five hits, while striking out five and walking one (plus two hit batters) in five innings.
“We have a great bunch of kids led by a handful of seniors,” said Tonnos’ coach Mike Hammond. “They know how to play ball. They take it seriously.
“We know what wins games and, ultimately, championships. It’s good pitching and great defence. That showed again today. We had a pretty easy regular season and didn’t have a game like this one. But we knew we had it in us.”
Tonnos won the regular-season meeting against Bishop Ryan, 7-1.
The Titans will be idle until the spring when Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations regional playoff action begins.