Fight to the finish

Lizzy Thomas

On the road to a possible CIF championship, the varsity baseball team is struggling to secure its third straight Mission League championship.

The Loyola Cubs are poised to thwart the Wolverines’ would-be three-peat, despite the fact that the Wolverines’ boast an 18-3 overall record to Loyola’s 13-8. Due to early season stumbles against Loyola and Crespi, the Wolverines are second to the Cubs in the Mission League standings and need Loyola to lose to have a shot at the title.

“Unfortunately we put ourselves in a position where we don’t control our own destiny,” Brian Ginsberg ’14 said. “If we go out and win every game hopefully the pieces will take care of themselves. We’re playing our best baseball right now and our goal is CIF and League, too.”

The team increased its chances at another league championship this past week with 10-3 and 12-5 wins against league opponent Alemany last Wednesday and Friday respectively. Even so, the team will almost certainly have to win all five of its remaining games to unseat Loyola as league leaders.

“We have to win the rest of our league games and hope Loyola loses a game. But we can only worry about ourselves right now,” Jack Flaherty ’14 said.

Regardless of how they finish in league, the Wolverines, currently ranked third in CIF Division I, have a legitimate shot at a CIF championship.

A deep postseason run would likely mean a rematch against Mater Dei, who is ranked first in the Division I coaches’ poll. Mater Dei beat the Wolverines in the finals of USA Baseball’s National High School Invitational for the second straight year last month.

“It’d be pretty cool to play them in the CIF Championships,” Ginsberg said.

Flaherty hopes the Wolverines can get another opportunity this season to snap their cold streak against Mater Dei.

“It’s really frustrating but they’re a really good team who happen to have our number recently,” Flaherty said. “Hopefully we get a chance to play them again, but if we do, we can’t really focus on that they’re Mater Dei, we just have to think of them as another team we have to beat, though I’m sure there will be some extra motivation there.”

Prior to the finals of NHSI, a national championship-type tournament that invites only the most elite teams, the Wolverines shut out all of their opponents before having the tables turned on them when the Monarchs beat them 4-0.

“Having the same ending there as last year, losing to Mater Dei in the finals, it stings,” Ginsberg said. “Hopefully we’ll get a chance to play them again in CIF and get them back.”

Ginsberg said the experience was still great.

“The experience you get there is unbelievable, especially the USA Training Complex,” Ginsberg said.

In North Carolina, the team had the chance to practice at both Duke and the University of North Carolina an experience that was especially meaningful for Flaherty, who committed to North Carolina last fall.

“It was awesome and the facilities are great,” he said.

NHSI will not be the only elite tournament for Flaherty this year, as the pitcher was invited this past weekend to play in the Under Armour All-American Baseball Game on Aug. 24 at Wrigley Field in Chicago.

“I’m really excited,” Flaherty said. “I heard about it this weekend, I got a call from the guy and I’m just really excited to have the opportunity to play.”