Chalmette seniors Alex Powell and Brandon Wilson called it the biggest win of their high school career.
And yes, that even includes the regular-season victory against rival Holy Cross.
This one was a playoff win against Catholic League champion John Curtis.
Wilson and Alex Powell provided the big hits, and Rafe Schindler gave a gritty effort on the mound as No. 19 Chalmette knocked off No. 14 Curtis 8-4 in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs on Monday at Mike Miley Stadium.
“It’s huge,” said Wilson. “It’s a privilege to be a part of it. This win built our confidenc,e and we are going to have the same mindset going to the second round.”
Chalmette (22-9) advances to the best-of-three second round series to play the winner of Tuesday’s game between No. 3 Airline and No. 30 Central Lafourche.
Powell went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles while driving in four runs, and Wilson was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs.
Owls coach Kenny Bonura, who took over just a month ago after Lyall Barwick resigned, wasn’t surprised.
“Alex and Brandon have been dreaming about this for four years,” Bonura said. “I knew they were going to play well. They have been itching for this.”
The victory ruined what had been a splashing Class 5A debut for Curtis (21-8).
The Patriots, fresh off winning the Class 3A state title last season, followed up by winning the Catholic League in their first year competing in Class 5A.
“I’m extraordinarily proud of these seniors because they had a season a lot of people didn’t think they could have,” first-year Patriots coach Jeff Curtis said. “… Chalmette did a great job of executing offensively, putting the barrel on the ball and running the bases aggresively. They executed, and that’s baseball sometimes.”
Schindler, a junior, threw six solid innings and allowed just four hits while striking out seven.
Kobe Cazes took over in the seventh with a comfortable 4-run cushion and retired the heart of the Patriots lineup in order.
“It feels amazing,” Schindler said. “Words can’t explain it. We stuck together as a team and just kept on fighting. We were the underdogs, but we know how good we are.”
The Owls led 5-4 after six, but broke it open with a three-run seventh, highlighted by Wilson’s RBI single and Powell’s two-run double.
That proved to be enough as Chalmette won a playoff game after losing in the first round last season and not making the postseason the two seasons before that.
“This has been a big goal for our guys,” Bonura said. “They wanted to win their first-round games. It was a goal, and they wanted it and they just played their tails of today.”
The Owls raced out to a 3-0 lead, scoring one on the second and two in the third. Chalmette’s first run in the third came after Curtis starter Daniel Cabrera walked four consecutive batters.
Curtis answered in the bottom half of the inning. Kyle Burns singled, and Matherne followed with a double. Jordin Labruzza drove them both in with a double to trim Curtis’ deficit to 3-2. It was back and forth the rest of the way until Chalmette pulled away in the seventh.
Cabrera, who entered the game with a 2-0 record and a 1.17 ERA, lasted five innings for the Patriots. The LSU commitment allowed just one hit and struck out eight batters to go with five walks. Ian Landreneau pitched the sixth, and Sean Bretz threw the seventh.
Mason Matherne had two of the Patriots’ five hits, but it wasn’t quite enough.
“It was a huge game for us,” Powell said. “But we knew we were just as good or better than they were.”