Mathews’ Iceman freezes Fairport bats

Mathews pitcher Jackson Iceman fires a pitch against Fairport Harbor Harding in a Division IV district semifinal at Urbansky Field in Fairport Harbor on Wednesday afternoon. Iceman got the victory as the Mustangs advanced.

FAIRPORT HARBOR — It isn’t a moniker bestowed on him by teammates, but a surname. Though that might be difficult to discern after watching Mathews sophomore right-hander Jackson Iceman coolly lead the Mustangs past Fairport Harbor, 5-3, in a Division IV district semifinal at Urbansky Field on Wednesday afternoon.

Iceman worked six innings for the win and drove in a pair of runs on three hits to pace the Mustangs.

“There are some games you have to fight for,” Iceman said. “I tried to let them hit it. I was getting sore toward the end and that’s when defense is what matters. I knew I had the defense behind me.

“I was feeling good today (at the plate). Today was the day. I wanted to play (Thursday). I just looked for fastballs in the middle, something that would get me on base and get the team going.”

The second-seeded Mustangs (15-5) will be back at Urbansky Field for a 4:30 p.m. date with top-seeded John F. Kennedy (16-4) where they will battle for the Division IV district championship to earn a berth in the regional tournament at Pipe Yard Stadium in Lorain.

Mathews left fielder Daniel Canter makes a diving catch in a Division IV district semifinal victory over Fairport Harbor Harding at Urbansky Field in Fairport Harbor on Wednesday afternoon.

“Coming out and playing the same type of defense we did today is key,” Mathews coach Jared Terlecky said before Kennedy toppled Maplewood, 2-1, in the nightcap. “Maplewood is in our leage and we’ve already played them twice. They’re a good team. Kennedy is an excellent team, too. Whoever we play will be good. You can count on that when you’re talking about the district tournament.

“We’ll have to make a couple of really special plays at different points. I would expect the same type of game as you saw today.”

Iceman struck out one and walked one in allowing three runs — two earned — on seven hits.

“Jackson pitched really well,” Terlecky said. “He gave us six strong innings. He was at about 93 pitches and we figured rather than risk him being tired or sore (today), we’d bring someone in. He was in or around the strike zone. He induced a lot of ground balls we could make plays on.”

Jordan Brown came on in relief after a single to open the top of the seventh. He walked a batter before getting the next three batters for the save.

Mathews reliever Jordan Brown delivers a pitch against Fairport Harbor Harding in a Division IV district semifinal at Urbansky Field in Fairport Harbor on Wednesday afternoon. Brown recorded the save as the Mustangs advanced.

“(Iceman) got it done on the mound,” Brown said. “I came in and expected a tight zone. It was VERY tight. I knew he wasn’t going to call a third strike on the last hitter unless he swung at it and missed. I threw a knuckleball down the middle and he didn’t call it.

“I had faith the whole time. We had a great catch (for the first out) at third base.”

Anthony Oulton tracked a ball into foul ground and back into fair territory after the wind took it, before falling to the seat of his pants as the ball fell into his mitt.

“He’s a very confident young man,” Terlecky said about Brown. “He’s as tough as nails and mentally strong. We’ve used him in those situations quite a bit so he’s grown into the role. I’m happy he was able to come in and pitch the way he did.”

Brown walked and scored on a single by Iceman to knot the score, 1-1, in the bottom of the second. Mitch Goff tripled and scored as Brown reached on an error to give Mathews a 2-1 lead. Dillon Canter reached on a fielder’s choice and scored on a single by Iceman as the Mustangs went ahead, 3-1, in the third.

Oulton’s run-scoring single made it 4-2 in the fifth. Daniel Canter singled and scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-2.

Luke Honkala’s RBI single had put the Skippers (14-15) up, 1-0, in the top of the second. Tanner Nahorniak doubled and scored on a groundball out as Fairport moved to within a run, 3-2, in the fifth. Hunter Garisek scored the final run for the Skippers after singling and crossing the plate following a fielder’s choice in the seventh.