Cougars win another nail-biter

The Christopher High baseball team couldn't be kept down in a 5-4 win over St. Ignatius on Monday. Photo by Robert Eliason.

When the Christopher High baseball team fell behind 4-0 after two innings, things looked pretty bleak. However, the Cougars have showed plenty of resiliency and determination this season, and nowhere was that more apparent than in a 5-4 home win over St. Ignatius Monday in a Central Coast Section Division II playoff quarterfinal. 

The No. 3 seed Cougars (21-8) play No. 2 Aptos (21-6-1) at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Washington Park in Santa Clara in the semifinals. What’s next for the Cougars? They’ve won two playoff games by a grand total of two runs, including one in extra innings. 

“It’s been pretty amazing, and it’s never easy,” Cougars coach Ryan Dequin said. “Things didn’t look good early (against St. Ignatius), but our guys are resilient. They kept battling on every pitch, and it paid off.”

Matt Peters, who pitched six shutout innings in the playoff opener, was able to start again as Monday’s game had been rescheduled from Saturday, giving him two extra days of rest. But Peters got roughed up in the early going, allowing two homers and four runs in the first two innings. 

“It wasn’t what we wanted to start, but typically Peters settles down,” Dequin said. “And it’s not as if he was pitching bad. They hit great pitches that got up in the jet stream and just took off. But once he felt we had his back and got those three runs, his demeanor changed. It was almost as if he was puffing out his chest and saying, ‘I’m going to hold this team down,’ and he did exactly that. It was huge to have him on the mound and for us to be able to come back.”

Peters went the distance, allowing four runs on four hits while striking out five and walking just one batter. Once Peters got into a rhythm, his fastball had more zip and he was able to spot his changeup for strikes. The comeback started in the bottom of the third inning, as Karson Mazotti hit a leadoff double before Travis Romero singled and stole second. 

Andrew Kachel followed with a two-run double, and he eventually scored on a Cooper Ahola single. The Cougars scored a run in the fifth inning to make it 4-4 before scoring the eventual game-winning run in the sixth. Mazotti came up huge once again, driving in the tying run with a sacrifice-fly that scored JoJo Aguilera, who led off the inning with a single. Kachel went 2-for-4 and Aguilera also had two hits.  

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