St. Ignatius advances to 3A title game, walking off against Triad

By Tino Abarca
Illinois Staff

JOLIET, IL – It took an extra-inning affair for the winner to be determined in the second 3A semifinal at Route 66 Stadium (formerly known as Silver Cross Field) in Joliet, IL. The Wolfpack of St. Ignatius scored on a wild pitch to sneak past the Knights of Triad to advance to their first-ever state championship game.

St. Ignatius’ leadoff hitter reached base each of the final three innings – the Wolfpack were unsuccessful in manufacturing a run the previous two times. That wasn’t the case the third time around. Thomas Stoodt and Dominick Fischer led off the frame with back-to-back singles.

Stoodt was cut down at third on a bunt attempt by Will McManaman. A fielder’s choice ground ball allowed Fischer to advance to third with freshman Emmanuel Scott at the dish. On the 0-2  delivery to Scott, the ball skipped past the catcher and allowed Fischer to score, walking the Wolfpack off with a victory.

The Wolfpack scored two early runs which, at the time, seemed to be more than enough for McManaman. He retired 14 of the first 15 he faced but ran into trouble in the fifth. With two outs, Triad’s Joe Wade doubled and scored on pinch-hitter Ethan Gratton’s bloop single to short right center. One hitter later, Josh Mesenbrink lined a pitch up the middle, off McManaman’s glove scoring Drew Parres from third. Gratton was thrown out attempting to score from second, but not before the Knights tied it up.

Despite the Knights’ two-run fifth inning – which was the only blemish McManaman had – the Wolfpack starter fell one hitter shy of a complete game, giving way to reliever Fischer. McManaman tossed 7.2 innings, allowing five hits and two walks while striking out seven. McManaman was pulled after pitch number 120, per IHSA rules.

Triad’s Mack Langdon picked up no-decision despite a nine-strikeout, six-hit performance lasting five innings.

Thomas Stoodt reached all four times going 3-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.

McManaman did his part at the plate as well, going 2-for-3 with a fielder’s choice and a run scored.

Triad faces Nazareth Academy in the third-place game Saturday, June 9 at 9 a.m. The title game will follow, as St. Ignatius meets Morton.