Matt Krook did it all for St. Ignatius as the Wildcats defeated Saratoga 11-3 in the first round of the Central Coast Section Division II playoffs. The Oregon bound senior tossed four plus scoreless innings to earn the win and went 3-for-4 at the plate with a mammoth home run.
"It was fantastic," St. Ignatius head coach Matthew Stecher said of Krook's performance. "He's definitely one of our best pitchers and our best offensive weapon and he showed why today. He did a great job on the mound, did exactly what we needed him to, and then brought home runs at the plate. It's great to see."
With Krook and Loyola Marymount bound Kyle Dozier on the mound, runs were scarce early. St. Ignatius loaded the bases in the third inning with two outs, but the Falcons were one strike away from getting out of the jam. Jack Stinn blasted a grand slam on a 1-2 pitch to break the game open.
"It was huge," Stecher said of the home run. "It was momentum that we've been lacking the last couple weeks. We haven't been hitting very well but it was like a shot in the arm. It was good for Jack and good for the team to pick up four runs."
In the following inning, Krook lined a three-run homer over the right field wall. He finished 3-for-4 with five RBIs. Junior shortstop Logan Steinberg was 3-for-3 with two walks and reached on every plate appearance.
The Falcons got all of their three runs in the sixth inning. The first three hitters all reached to load the bases and scored on an error and two fielder's choices.
St. Ignatius is looking like the team to beat in the Division II bracket despite the No. 13 seed. When asked if this was a statement game, Stecher replied, "A little bit. We're really just happy to be in the tournament and we're not too concerned about seeding. We just want to be as competitive as we can be and we'll let the game take care of itself."
The Wildcats will now play Soledad in the quarterfinals on Saturday at Washington Park. All West Catholic Athletic League teams advanced in the first round of CCS play.