Cusack carries Cate to CIF victory

Cate's Zach Ell slides into second base to break up a possible double play for the Eagles. (Presidio Sports Photos)

When Cate head baseball coach Ben Soto told his pitcher to start singing his favorite song, Greg Cusack went to Blink-182’s First Date.

Cate senior Greg Cusack lets go of a pitch in Friday's CIF game.

With the tune in his head, Cusack recorded the final three outs to seal a 7-4 victory over Eastside Christian in the first round of the CIF Division-7 tournament.

“I was thinking too much. I was trying to aim it,” Cusack explained, having started to get tired after a season-high 5 2/3 innings. “And then the coaches said sing your favorite song and I did that. It worked.”

Cusack came on in relief with the Rams having fallen behind 4-1 in the second inning. The senior did not allow another run and picked up his first win of the season while striking out eight.

Cusack made a nice play with his glove too, snagging a comebacker in the fifth inning with two runners on base. Cusack caught the lead runner trying to get back to third base for the second out. He struck out the next batter to get out of the jam.

“I think that really got me fired up. It took me to the next level,” Cusack said.

The Rams took the lead back with two runs in the second and three more in the third. Patrick Thomas put Cate in the lead 5-4 with a two-run double that scored Cusack and Mike Warren. Thomas then moved around the bases to score with some heads-up base-running, including a steal of third base while the catcher was throwing back to the pitcher.

“I just choked up and kinda threw my hands at it and let the ball do what it wanted to do I guess,” Thomas said.

Djata Nyaawie brought Cate to within 4-3 with a check-swing single that bounced just inside the foul line beyond first base.

“The adrenaline was flowing for sure,” Nyaawie said.

Zach Ell closed out the scoring in the bottom of the fifth when an outfield error allowed the catcher to completely round the bases after a line-drive single.

Cate (11-3) advances to play in Tuesday’s second round.

The Eagles finish their season with a 10-9 record.

CATE 7, EASTSIDE CHRISTIAN 4

EC 040 000 0 – 4 6 3
C 123 010 x – 7 7 2

EC – Steele, and Stapleton. C – Lucchesi, Cusack (2), and Ell. 2b – Thomas. WP – Cusack 1-0.

Cate second baseman Justin Lucchesi avoids the baserunner to make a throw to first base.

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