Mathews’ Iceman is hoping more bus trips are on deck
BY BOB ETTINGER
Jackson Iceman should have plenty of memories from a Division IV regional semifinal later today. But there are moments the Mathews senior will make sure to file away before the Mustangs take the field.
“A lot of my memories come from things like sitting on the bus,” Iceman said. “I like to sit alone on the way to games and take it all in. It could be our last bus ride. That’s one of the best things for me.”
The Mustangs (20-3) will play Springfield (25-3) today. The game is scheduled to be played at Strongsville High School at 2 p.m., but because of weather concerns, the time and venue could change. A final decision is due today by 10 a.m.
“How fitting is it the year we’ve had weather wise that that could happen,” Mathews coach Jared Terlecky said Wednesday. “There’s not one coach in the state of Ohio who isn’t prepared for something like that or who would be surprised.”
Terlecky understands the importance of the game, but he’d like the Mustangs to follow Iceman’s lead.
“You can say it’s just another game as many times as you want to,” Terlecky said. “But everyone knows the truth in the back of their head.
“I try not to worry about that too much,” Terlecky said. “It’s a joy to be there. I want them to live in the moment.
“You try and practice every little thing you can so you stay sharp, you talk about what you might do in certain situations, but you aren’t going to change too much. You know your strengths and weaknesses. You are who you are at this point.”
There’s a balance to be struck.
“I want them to try and go out and have as good a day as they can and enjoy it,” Terlecky said. “I told the kids when you play a game like this, you will remember them. I really stressed they didn’t want to remember being nervous. I want them to be able to enjoy the moment, live in it.”
Iceman is one of eight seniors who grew up playing the game together.
“Our chemistry is good,” Iceman said. “I know it’s a clich , but we really are brothers. We bust each other up, but we really love each other. That’s really the key.”
To that end, Iceman knows it’s a big moment.
“It’s our senior year,” Iceman said. “It’s something special. We won’t be back. We want to enjoy the moment, 100 percent, but at the same time we want to win the game. God forbid we lose, there will be tears for most of us. We don’t want to quit playing together.”
The lineup will include Brandon Smith at shortstop, Jake Miller at first base, Adam Wibert at third base or pitcher, Iceman at third base or pitcher, Ethan Hall at catcher, Zach Rhodanz at second base, Jon Goff at designated hitter, Jake Williams in right field, Gabe Canter in left field and Hunter Schoenfeld in left field.
Sam Rath, Brad Perry, Ray Snyder, Dimitrius Rhea, Declan Stitt and Nick Spano will be ready when needed.
“I’m most proud of how we came back after a really tough loss to end last year,” Terlecky said. “They could’ve said they were good enough. I really took them to task. You could say I really ripped them raw. We had a lot of long practices.”