Chalmette interim coach Kenny Bonura said that he thought his team may have been playing some off its best baseball recently, but nothing confirmed that more than a win over longtime rival Holy Cross.
The Owls (17-7) took advantage of some mistakes by the Tigers to claim a 5-4 victory in a nondistrict game at Noel Suarez Stadium on Thursday night.
Chalmette has won six of its past seven games and has outscored its opponents 61-13 over that stretch.
“I think we are really starting to believe that we’re a good team now,” Bonura said. “Everybody is starting to buy in, and we’re beginning to make that transition from a being team to becoming a family.
“When that happens, you can do magical things.”
Holy Cross (11-13) held a 1-0 lead before the Tigers collapsed on defense in the bottom of the fourth and let things slip away.
With the bases loaded and only one out, Chalmette’s Kobe Cazes hit a potential inning-ending double play back to Holy Cross pitcher Brendan Taravella but the ball slipped through Taravella’s glove and allowed Chalmette to get its first run.
After Noah Thomas gave the Owls a 2-1 lead with a sacrifice fly, the Tigers committed two more gaffes on back-to-back throwing errors and gave up three more runs to fall behind 5-1 heading into the fifth.
The Tigers made a late comeback attempt, but Chalmette pitcher Rafe Schindler retired the final three Holy Cross batters in the seventh to finish off the win. The junior pitched a complete game, allowing four runs on six hits to go along with nine strikeouts.
“I knew my stuff was on today, so I just had to breathe and relax,” Schindler said. “This was an emotional win for us. They’re our biggest rival, so it’s always great to get a win against a good team like them.”
The Tigers tried to answer Chalmette’s five-run inning in the top of the fifth with a two-run double by Arizona State signee Tre Turner to cut the team’s deficit down to 5-3. Cyle Clayton lined an RBI single off the glove of Schindler to add another run in the sixth, but the Tigers were unable to finish the comeback.
After gaining some momentum with a 4-0 start in district play, Holy Cross has lost three consecutive games — all this week — and first-year coach Cass Hargis said that his team needs to do a better job of keeping its composure when the game is starting to spin out of control.
“As a team, when things have started going bad we haven’t just stood up and said, ‘enough is enough,’ ” Hargis said. “Its understandable to get one error, but when we just let it snowball on us like we did in that fourth inning, it’s tough to bounce back from that.”