Russell's No-Hitter Gives Cathedral City Crown; Marion County Championship Cancelled



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By Pete Cava
PBR Indiana Correspondent 

INDIANAPOLIS – Fueled by a relentless offense and Ashe Russell's no-hit pitching, the Cathedral Irish claimed their second consecutive City title Thursday night with an 11-1 win over the Scecina Crusaders at Victory Field.

The contest, scheduled for 5:30 p.m., was held up for an hour and 46 minutes by heavy rains. The delay forced the cancellation of Thursday's nightcap, the Marion County Championship game between North Central and Franklin Central. No makeup date was announced.

The No. 3 Irish (14-0) banged out 10 hits, including a home run by first baseman Brendan Flood, in a game that ended in the bottom of the fifth on the mercy rule. Flood had a perfect night, going 3-for-3 with a walk and three runs.

Russell wasn't perfect, but he wasn't far from it. The lanky sophomore right-hander struck out five, allowing no hits while giving up a walk. Scecina's run was unearned, the result of a two-base error, an infield out and a wild pitch.

“How can you complain with an 11-1 win in a championship game,” Cathedral coach Rich Andriole joked afterwards. “Ashe threw a lot of strikes. We played a little bit of defense behind him, because we did get some swing-and-misses. We got off to a super start, and did a really good job of adding to the lead and not just putting on cruise control.”.

Russell has now thrown three no-hitters this season, including a perfect game. Thursday night he relied on a fastball, changeup and slider, but his go-to pitch was his heater. “I threw two-seams,” he said, “and when I got down in the count I went to the four-seam, and it worked for me.”.

Obviously, the rain delay had no affect on Russell. “Not really,” he said. “I kinda like playing under the lights, anyway. I never played here (at Victory Field) before, and it's a really good feeling.”

The Irish went up 2-0 in the bottom of the first off Scecina starter Aaron Leming. Flood opened with a hit and was forced at second by Harry Shipley. With the hit-and-run on, Shipley took third on Luke Cureton's single up the middle. Shipley scored when Alex Boos grounded into a force play, and Boos rode home on Sean Snyder's triple to right.

Cathedral added three more in the second. Shipley's bases-loaded single plated a pair and Cureton's sac fly gave the Irish a 5-0 advantage.

Scecina (8-8) gave up another run in the third. Boos led off with a walk and moved to second on a wild pitch. Leming's errant pickoff throw sent Boos to third, and he scored on Snyder's fly ball to left.

The Irish scored four more times in the fourth, all with two out. Flood's solo blast over the left field wall made it 7-0. Following walks to Shipley and Cureton, Boos singled to right for another run. Snyder drew a walk to fill the bases, and two more runs came in when Austin Sparks drilled a line single down the third base line.

Justin Cavanaugh opened the fifth for Scecina with a fly to left. Michael Sullivan, who had just entered the game for Cathedral, attempted an over-the-shoulder catch. Sullivan couldn't hold on to the ball, which dropped for a two-base error. Robert Rennick pinch-ran for Cavanaugh and took third on an infield out. Moments later, Rennick scored on a wild pitch.

Scecina's run was the first off Cathedral in this year's City Tournament. After a first-round bye, the Irish had blanked Washington 15-0 in the quarterfinals and had whitewashed Cardinal Ritter 12-0 in the semifinals.

The contest ended in the bottom of the fifth on the 10-run rule when Cureton's two-out hit off Scecina reliever Nolan Ayres scored Flood from second.

Cathedral had defeated Scecina a 10-0 earlier this year. En route to Thursday's rematch with the Irish, the Crusaders had beaten Tech, Bishop Chatard and Heritage Christian in City Tournament play.

A year ago, Cathedral defeated Cardinal Ritter for the City title.