It took just two swings of the bat, but Curtis turned a tight game against Holy Cross into another step toward the Catholic League baseball title.
LSU commitment Daniel Cabrera’s grand slam highlighted a six-run seventh inning to put the finishing touches on a 7-0 District 9-5A win at Holy Cross Park on Friday afternoon.
The victory gives the Patriots (19-6, 8-1) a three-game lead in district play with four to play as Curtis won its 10th game in its past 11 contests.
“In the seventh, I was thinking about how we were going to go pitch with a 1-0 lead,” Curtis coach Jeff Curtis said. “We had kind of wiggled off the hook making big pitches in the first six innings. I was just hoping to scratch one across, and then we came up with a couple of huge hits with two outs.”
In the top of the seventh, the Patriots scored six unearned runs to break open an one-run pitchers’ duel. Sean Bretz reached on an error to start the rally with one out. Nick Wilson singled to right followed by a Kyle Burns walk to load the bases.
After a strikeout, Mason Matherne went the other way with a two-out, two-strike single to right field to make it 3-0.
“I was just thinking about getting the ball in play,” Matherne said. “The ball was outside, so I just went to right field. I was a huge base hit. The seventh was huge because we knew it was a tight game, so we needed some runs.”
The offense didn’t stop there as Jordin Labruzza walked, and Cabrera followed with a towering grand slam down the left field line.
“I was just looking for a pitch up, and I got one,” Cabrera said. “I hit it hard, and it got out. We just had some great at-bats in the seventh. We battled, and we got the victory. We just have to finish (Saturday). We want to come out with a ‘W’ in the Catholic League and win the district.”
The inning overshadowed the work of Tigers starter Brenden Taravella, who went seven innings allowing seven runs (none earned) on six hits and three walks. He struck out six.
Curtis starter Sean Bretz got the win in his longest outing of the season. He pitched 5.2 shutout innings, allowing two hits and two walks. He struck out five in 90 pitches. Reliever Ian Landreneau pitched 1.1 innings of one-hit relief to close out the game.
“I felt really good today,” Bretz said. “All my breaking pitches were working and my fastball, too. I felt, in the sixth inning, that my legs were getting a little tired. I just kept battling. I knew it was going to be a close game. It’s a huge win because it puts district pretty much on lock.”
The Tigers (12-15, 5-4) stranded eight runners, including a pair at third base. Holy Cross has dropped five of its past six games.
Holy Cross coach Cass Hargis said the Tigers are just one hit away from an offensive breakout.
“We just have to keep finding ways to create opportunities,” Hargis said. “We’ve had chances with guys on base, and we just haven’t come through with a big hit. It feels like we just need to get that hit one time to get on a roll. Hopefully, we can get that big hit soon.”