When they needed him the most, Brother Martin’s best player came through.
Senior shortstop Greg Deichmann’s two-out, run-scoring triple held up as the game-winner as No. 2 seed Brother Martin defeated No. 31 St. Paul’s 4-1 in the Class 5A baseball playoffs bidistrict round Monday night at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium.
Brother Martin (28-4) advanced to take on the winner of No. 15 Zachary vs. No. 18 West Monroe in a best-of-three series.
St. Paul’s (13-12) wasted little time offensively. Its lone run came on the first pitch of the game when Tyler St. Phillip launched a homer over the left-field wall to give the Wolves the lead.
In the third, Brother Martin second baseman Will Douglass led off with a single. Blair Frederick reached on an error trying to sacrifice Douglass to second base, and both runners advanced a pitch later on Daniel Lahare’s sacrifice bunt.
The Crusaders tied the score at 1 on Jarrett Gongora’s RBI groundout. One pitch later, Deichmann launched the game-winning hit into the right-center field gap, scoring Frederick to give the Crusaders a 2-1 lead.
Looking to add insurance in the sixth, the Crusaders put runners on the corners with one out. Designated hitter Raphael Deroche launched a two-run double into left field off reliever Carlo Graffeo to push the lead to 4-1 and seal the victory.
“I knew we were going up against a quality team in St. Paul’s,” Crusaders coach Mark Wisniewski said. “They had some great ballplayers on their side, and we knew that we were going to have to come out and play to the best of our ability. We knew that for sure after the first pitch of the ballgame. Fortunately enough, we came out on the right side of things. Falling behind after the first pitch, we knew that there was still a lot of ball left to play.”
Junior Corey Gaconi (8-1) went the distance for the Crusaders, allowing one run on eight hits, striking out six and not walking a batter.
“We knew coming in that this was not going to be your typical game against a No. 31 seed,” Gaconi said. “We knew that nothing was going to come easy and we were going to have to come out with our best game. After that first pitch, I had to realize how windy of conditions I was going to have to deal with. I kept that in mind from that point on. The coaching staff told me to adjust, and we did as I worked away and down for the remainder of the game.”
Marc Gremillion (5-4) was the pitcher of record for St. Paul’s. He went 5.1 innings, allowing four runs (one earned) on seven hits and striking out six.