Jesuit High gave Catholic High a jolt in the top of the first inning, but the host Bears kept their poise and proved their mettle on Monday night at CHS.
With Jordan Romero providing a go-ahead two-run home run, No. 21 Catholic rallied for an 8-3 win over fifth-seeded Jesuit in regional-round action in the Class 5A baseball playoffs.
“We’ve been swinging the bats real well lately,” Catholic coach Brad Bass said. “Fortunately, we were able to get some good swings off, and they were able to find some gaps.”
With the win, Catholic (23-13) advances to play No. 13 Sulphur in quarterfinal action at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s Class 5A state tournament beginning Friday at Tulane University.
Jesuit (27-9) used Dylan Weston’s two-RBI double to take a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. The Bears got help from a Blue Jays error in the bottom of the frame and came back to take a 3-2 lead.
In the third, Weston reached base on Catholic second baseman Hunter D’Armand’s fielding error, and scored on Ben Hess’ single to tie the game.
Romero came back in the bottom half of the inning and followed Nick Coomes’ one-out single with a home run over the wall in left-center. Romero’s blast came on the first pitch off Jesuit starter C.J. Avard, and gave Catholic the lead for good, at 8-5.
“The bottom of the first was key,” Jesuit coach Joey Latino said. “We had a couple of mental lapses, but you’ve got to give Catholic credit. (Our) two runs didn’t seem to faze them all that much, and that’s the sign of an experienced club.”
Catholic starter Ross Massey settled in after a rocky first, and went five innings to get the win. He walked six and struck out six while throwing 116 pitches.
For the game, Catholic left only two runners on base, while Jesuit stranded nine.
“Massey is Massey,” Bass said. “He’s an absolute competitor, and he brings it every day. He wasn’t as sharp as he’s been, but he’s got so much guts that he wills himself to compete.”
Catholic finished off the Blue Jays with three late inning runs. Andrew Fournet and D’Armand had RBI singles in the fourth, and David Losavio added another in the sixth.
In the bottom of the first, Coomes started Catholic’s rally with a one-out double to score D’Armand, who had walked. Romero then reached on fielder’s choice after hitting a grounder to short.
Tommy Mainieri’s bunt brought Coomes home, and Romero scored on third baseman Spencer Miller’s throwing error.
“From the very beginning we told the kids they were such a fun group,” Bass said. “Even though the last week was a rough stretch, our guys started to have fun and started to build that head of steam. I’m just so proud of this team.”