Mooney rallies with seven-run inning
By Charles Grove
Down two with two outs to go, it looked to be a repeat of last year for the Cardinal Mooney baseball team.
A year ago, Mooney fell to top-seeded Canton Central Catholic 3-2 in a district final. And this year it looked to be another loss at the hands of the Crusaders until a seven-run seventh inning saved the season and the Cardinals got their revenge, winning 11-7.
“There’s nothing like it,” Mooney junior Jake Fonderlin said. “This is amazing. It’s a one-time opportunity.”
Fonderlin was the hero both offensively and defensively for the Cardinals (15-7).
In the bottom of the sixth, with the Crusaders leading 6-4 with a runner in scoring position and only one out, Fonderlin snagged a sharply-hit line drive at third base and then threw to first to complete the double play.
“That ball was hit so hard I just reacted as fast as I could to make the play,” Fonderlin said. “I was so worried about keeping the ball in my glove.”
In the seventh-inning comeback, Fonderlin led off by reaching on an error and then once the team batted around and Mooney already up 8-6, he launched an RBI triple to left-center, bringing home three runs and removing nearly all doubt.
“I was looking fastball and I jumped on it,” Fonderlin said. “It was just amazing. The energy you get from the crowd is the best feeling ever.”
In the comeback inning, Mooney got runners to first and third with one out before Canton Central Catholic took out starting pitcher Quinton Heck in favor of 6-foot-5, 290 -pound right-hander Miller Davies. But after a walk to load the bases and a pop out to the catcher in foul territory, everything unraveled for the Crusaders (15-10).
Antonio Page grounded to sophomore third baseman Chris Wilson in what should have been a simple unassisted force play at third. Instead Wilson threw to second baseman Brad Kling, who dropped the ball, allowing the run to score to make it 6-5.
From there, Alex Wollet battled back from an 0-2 count to single up the middle to tie the game before Dean Lauer singled to left field to give Mooney a 7-6 lead.
Chris Lewis drew a bases-loaded walk for a two-run cushion before Fonderlin’s bases-clearning triple.
“We got lucky,” Mooney head coach Al Franceschelli said. “We got real lucky. Seven-run innings in high school don’t happen much.
“We had a couple breaks here and there and some timely hits here and there. I think we got a little lucky but sometimes you’d rather be luckier than good.”
Fonderlin led the Cardinals with three RBIs while Lauer had two singles with two RBIs and two runs scored. Bryce Richey had three singles with an RBI and a run scored.
The team came pouring out of the dugout after the triple to greet the players who scored, and there were superstitious instructions from the coaching staff after the game to wear the same outfits in today’s game against Crestview without washing, even down to the underwear.
The Cardinals are seeded fourth in the district while the Rebels are an uninspiring seventh on paper — but Franceschelli said he thought Crestview would be in the district final.
“We don’t look at records, we look at teams,” Franceschelli said. “They played a very tough schedule and we kind of thought they would come out of that division.”