- 1 of 2 Photos | View More Photos
WOOSTER -- Massillon Jackson baseball coach Bill Gamble has simple title regarding Polar Bears ace Kyle Nicolas.
"He's an assassin," Gamble said.
That assassin killed off the season for the Walsh Jesuit baseball team.
Nicolas led the Polar Bears to a 6-0 win against Walsh Jesuit in a Division I regional semifinal May 26 at at the College of Wooster's Art Murray Field.
Nicolas' five-hit shutout included nine strikeouts and just one walk.
A soggy playing surface at Thurman Munson Stadium in Canton caused the game to be moved to Wooster and its all-turf infield, which includes a turf pitching mound.
That didn't bother Nicolas, and neither did the dugout chatter from both sides or Walsh Jesuit's gamesmanship (he felt the Warriors tried to break his rhythm a number of times).
"I just focused on not letting my emotions get to me and staying loose," he said.
The Warriors (20-9) got a batter to third base twice all day.
The first time, Nicolas responded by retiring the next 12 batters in a row.
Nicholas, a Ball State recruit, improved him to 7-0 and ran his scoreless innings streak in the tournament to 19, was about more than just heat.
"He was extremely sharp," Walsh Jesuit head coach Chris Kaczmar said. "He had control of all his pitches. He wasn't afraid to go to his off-speed early in the count. He threw extremely hard.
"He's got a bright future, let me tell you. That kid is a stud. He was impressive. (So was) their whole team. They're stacked."
Asked if he's seen a better pitcher this year, Kaczmar responded flatly, "No."
The Polar Bears loaded the bases in the first and second innings as Walsh starter Jace Burke, an Evansville recruit, struggled with his control.
Burke walked four in the first inning. Visibly frustrated, he yelled, "Come on!" at the home plate umpire after not getting a close pitch in the second.
But Jackson only could muster a 1-0 lead on Nicolas' sacrifice fly.
After having two strikes called on them during the third inning for stepping out of the box, the Polar Bears got their separation in the fourth.
Cade Mottice singled with two outs and moved to second on a wild pitch to Dillon Dingler. At that point Kaczmar decided to just put the Ohio State recruit Dingler on first and deal with No. 3 hitter Jake Mottice.
He made Kaczmar pay, drilling the first pitch he saw over the right fielder's head for a two-run triple and a 3-0 lead.
"I see why they did it, but we've got a lot of weapons throughout the lineup," Nicolas said. "Jake came up big."
Jake Mottice, Trey Wright and Josh Romans each had two hits as Jackson totaled nine hits and worked 10 walks. Wright's two-out RBI single in the sixth pushed the lead to 4-0.
Cade Mottice scored three times, including once from second base on a wild pitch in the seventh inning, as Jackson pulled away in its first matchup with Walsh Jesuit since a 2015 regional semifinal (won by the Polar Bears 4-3 in eight innings).
Burke (6-1) suffered his first loss of the season. He allowed four runs (three earned) on eight hits, seven walks and one hit batsman in 5.2 innings.