District-leading John Curtis used six strong innings from Ian Landreneau along with several stellar defensive plays to earn a 6-2 District 9-5A win over Rummel at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
“We do a lot of situational work in practice, and I think it shows in the game,” said Curtis third baseman Jay Curtis, who went 2-for-4 with two RBIs. “We’re very confident defensively.
“Ian throws a lot of strikes so it keeps us on our toes. We feel like we’re in great shape in district, but we’ve got Holy Cross on Tuesday, so it’s one game at a time.”
Leading 6-2 in the sixth, the Curtis defense showed its mettle. Chase Fourcade was hit by a pitch to open the inning followed by Lyall Ball’s double to left.
Jay Curtis recorded the first out on a diving stop at third, and first baseman Sean Bretz used every inch of his 6-foot-5 frame to snag a looping liner by Kevin Meehan as the Raiders were held scoreless.
“Those plays saved us two runs, both of them,” Patriots coach Jeff Curtis said. “And we get the double-play ball to end the game with a good pick by Sean. We did a good job of not panicking when they had a little bit of momentum. We trusted the process and got the outs we needed.”
Rummel (14-9, 4-4) tried to rally again in the seventh as Lane Leblanc and Zach Cook walked to open the inning, but after a strikeout, the Patriots turned a 4-6-3 double play to end the game.
Landreneau got the win, going six-plus and allowing two runs on six hits and three walks. He struck out three while Austin Haensel got the final three outs.
“I felt good today,” Landreneau said. “I threw a lot of strikes and stayed down in the zone. The defense played well. (Pitching with the lead) is huge. All I really have to do is throw strikes.
“I know if I do that, we’re going to get outs.”
The Patriots took an early lead as Jay Curtis’ two-run triple made it 2-0 in the first inning. Curtis added to its lead in the second as Kyle Burns’ RBI single chased starter Zach Cook.
Reliever Darren Willis limited the damage, allowing just one run as Mason Matherne (2-for-4) grounded out to scored a run as the Patriots took a 4-0 lead.
The Raiders answered in the bottom of the inning as Meehan opened with a single and scored on an errant throw to third after Daryl Deist’s double. Trent Tully’s RBI groundout cut the lead to 4-2.
Curtis (18-6, 7-1) pulled away in the fifth on Bretz’s sac fly and Nick Wilson’s RBI single to set the final score.
Cook took the loss, allowing four runs on four hits and two walks in one-plus innings. Offensively, Lyall Ball went 2-for-3 with a double, and Daryl Deist was 1-for-3 with an RBI and run scored.
Rummel coach Nick Monica said the early innings were the difference.
“We got off to a slow start and never really recovered,” Monica said. “I thought Zach didn’t have his best stuff today, but Darren did a good job of coming in and settling us down. We had some chances in the sixth and seventh and just couldn’t make anything happen.”