Jesuit started slowly in its Class 5A first-round playoff game against Ouachita Parish on Tuesday at John Ryan Stadium.
However, when the Jays got going, they really rolled, taking a 9-3 victory on the strength of a huge fifth inning.
“Their pitcher had us off-balance most of the game,” Jesuit coach Joey Latino said. “Fortunately, we were able to come through with about four big hits in a row.”
The Blue Jays (24-8), who finished second in District 9-5A will play Destrehan next in a regional-round best-of-three series Friday and Saturday at Ryan Stadium. Destrehan beat Denham Springs 1-0 on Tuesday.
Languishing offensively for four innings, Jesuit erupted for six runs in the fifth in taking a 7-2 lead and chasing Ouachita starter Caleb Armstong.
Shortstop Nick Ray led off by being hit by a pitch, and designated hitter Marc Theberge followed with a walk. Ray scored on a wild pitch. The next six runs scored with two outs, with Theberge scoring when Hayden Fuentes beat out an infield hit that gave the Blue Jays a 3-2 lead.
Center fielder Stephen Sepcich then hit an inside-the-park homer for a 5-2 advantage. Two more runs scored when pinch-hitter Alex Watermeier singled to right, scoring right fielder Connor Maginnis and Chance Melancon, who also reached base as a pinch-hitter.
The Lions had a chance to answer and get back in the game in the top of the sixth, loading the bases with no outs. However, Ouachita (16-15) scored one run, with shortstop Will Heath, who tripled leading off, scoring on Fendell’s one-out groundout.
“We could have taken (Armstrong) out earlier, but he’s our guy,” Lions coach Josh Morrison said. “We came back in the sixth. If we could have gotten a big hit there, we would have been back in the game. But we didn’t.”
Ouachita took a 2-0 lead in the second with the aid of an error by Jesuit pitcher Mason Mayfield. With a runner on first, Lions third baseman Jacob Andrews tapped the ball to the first-base side of the mound. Mayfield bobbled the ball, then tried to scoop it to first baseman Jake Licciardi with his glove, but Armstrong beat it out.
One out later, first baseman Jake Hammond doubled to left, scoring Andrews and designated hitter Dylan Fendell.
Jesuit scored in the third after Ray blooped a single to left, and Theberge walked. Both advanced on a wild pitch, and Ray scored from third on an fly ball to deep left by second baseman Brandon Briuglio.