Facing a hectic final week of the regular season, centered around it’s late push for the Catholic League crown, Jesuit baseball coach Joey Latino knew his pitching staff would be a lifesaver.
With many schools forced to play last week’s games over the course of the past few days due to rain cancellations, teams have had to reach deep into their pitching staffs to find reliable starters for some of their biggest games.
Jesuit showed that they are exactly the type of team built for this challenge, leaning on the arm of Davis Martin and a game-ending play at the plate to pull out a 4-3 victory over Shaw at John Ryan Stadium on Tuesday, pushing the Blue Jays’ winning streak to six straight games.
“He’s only a sophomore, and he came up huge for us tonight,” Latino said of Martin. “The weather has kind of forced us to reach deeper into our staff, but those guys have come up huge for us.”
Jesuit’s improved to 23-7, with a 7-2 record in District 9-5A — good enough for sole possession of first place.
Holy Cross fell to second place in the Catholic League standings after their 3-1 loss to Brother Martin earlier in the day, and they are joined by Rummel, who defeated St.Augustine 19-3 Tuesday night. Both teams are one game behind Jesuit in the race with a 6-3 district record.
“To say how far we’ve come this season, it says a lot about our team that we’ve gotten to this position,” Latino said. “We just have to worry about what’s in front of us and handle our business on Thursday.”
Martin provided a calming presence on the mound the majority of the night, pitching 4.2 innings, while allowing one run on two hits. He also walked four and struck out five.
The sophomore gave up his only run in the fifth, after Jesuit dropped a ball in foul territory that could have ended the inning. Taking advantage of the Blue Jays’ miscue, Shaw second baseman Jace Nini laced a 3-2 pitch to center field that brought in a runner and eventually turned into a triple.
After Nini’s hit, Latino turned to reliever Mason Mayfield, who got the Blue Jays out of the inning and another jam in the sixth inning only allowing one run.
Latino then turned to Logan Hornung for the final inning, and he allowed the Eagles to get one run on the board and the opportunity for another after a Lance Landry single to center field, but Harrison Daste came charging to the ball and threw it in Daniel Edmund, who got the throw to home plate before the Eagles’ potential game-tying run could cross, ending the game.
Trent Forshag provided Jesuit’s first two runs, the first of which came on a sacrifice fly in the first inning, followed by an RBI single to left field in the third.
Two batters later, Scott Crabtree padded the Blue Jays’ lead with a two-out RBI single that pushed the Jesuit lead to 3-0 heading into the fourth inning.
Forshag finished 1-for-2 at the plate with two RBIs and a run scored.
“We’ve been really big on handling our own part. ‘We control our own destiny’, that’s what we always say,” said Forshag, who tagged the runner out on the game-ending play. “I feel like if any of our guys were in that position, they would have been able to make that play. We all have faith in each other that we can make those plays.”
Jesuit will be facing two-time defending Catholic League champion Brother Martin, and with a win, they would clinch the District 9-5A title outright.
If the Blue Jays were to lose, they—along with the winner of the Rummel/Holy Cross game— would have the option to either mutual agree on sharing the title as co-champions or scheduling a district championship game that must fall before the LHSAA decides upon their baseball playoff brackets on Sunday.