“I mean, he’s a professional prospect,” freshman Nate Jakobs said of Valley Christian Academy junior Corey Cater following the Cavs’ 13-0 loss to the Lions in the second round of section playoffs.
Through the five innings he pitched, Cater had 15 strikeouts, five times more than all of the Cavs’ pitchers combined.
But it wasn’t a walk in the park for Cater in the May 18 game at McAuliffe Field. He had to earn his shutout.
In the top of the first, junior Zane Jakobs stepped up to the plate with bases loaded. With two outs and a full count, it was do or die for Zane.
Taking the pitch, Zane struck out swinging. This would be the closest the Cavs would get to scoring a run all game.
And unlike the previous three games, the Cavs wouldn’t have at least a one-run lead going into the bottom of the first.
Fortunately, the boys were able to fend off the Lions, making them go three-and-out in the first.
But the Cavs’ joy didn’t last long. They too went three-and-out, Cater being responsible, as he struck out all three hitters.
The Lions, now at bat, thrived off of Cater’s energy, putting up three runs and putting down the Cavs’ hopes of taking down the beasts of the league.
The third was more of the same for the Cavs. It would’ve been another easy three-and-out for Cater had his second baseman, John Hibbs, not bobbled the ball, allowing freshman Jack Christian to reach base on an error.
Luckily for Hibbs, Cater proceeded to strike out senior Ben Felix in three pitches.
Apparently the Lions weren’t content with the three runs they had put up in the previous inning. So like any powerhouse team, they outdid themselves, putting up four.
All of a sudden, the game had been blown wide open. And the Cavs’ chances of an underdog championship run had come to an end.
But senior Jacob Sands said the boys never accepted defeat.
“We persevered,” Sands said after the final game of his high-school career.
According to Zane, Cater pitched even better as the game went on.
“Most guys get tired,” Zane said, “but he just threw harder and harder. That guy was good! There was a scout there just to see him.”
The fourth inning told the same story Zane did: Cater was good.
Three Cavs’ batters up. Three more Ks for him in the stat sheet.
Struck out swinging, struck out looking, struck out looking is all the fourth inning wrote for the Cavs.
The Cavs were probably feeling a bit of deja vu in the next two half innings.
Five more runs for the Lions, three more strikeouts for Cater.
Yes, the Cavs were facing a dominant threat on the mound in just the second round. But even if the boys were on the other side of the bracket, they would have had to face them sometime.