St. Martin’s starter Raj Shah did it all for St. Martin’s on Wednesday night including starting the game-ending 1-6-3 double play.
The senior struck out 10 as No. 8 St. Martin’s earned an 8-3 victory over No. 25 Lafayette Christian during a Class 1A first-round playoff game at Mike Miley Stadium.
“My cutter was really working today,” said Shah, who allowed three runs on seven hits and two walks. “I threw a lot of those. Without my teammates, I just couldn’t do it because they make the plays. It’s a huge win. I couldn’t be prouder of my team. We just have to keep working and hopefully, we can beat Cedar Creek.”
St. Martin’s (15-9) will host No. 9 Cedar Creek in a second-round game tentatively scheduled for noon Saturday at. Cedar Creek knocked off No. 24 Block 10-2 to advance.
St. Martin’s coach Kit Laird said his team fought hard but can improve at the plate.
“We just have to be better at being patient at the plate,” he said. “We popped the ball up too much. When we started to hit the ball on the ground, things started to happen. They’re going to give me a heart attack because they wait until the middle of the game to get going, but they fight hard.”
The Saints took the lead in the second as they scored three runs with two outs. Barrett Shepherd started the rally with a two-out double to left center. After Nick Dellacroce was hit by a pitch, Hampton Davis drove in a run with an infield single, and Kevin Bird’s two-run single made it 3-0.
The Knights (8-17) responded in the third as Hez Charles, who took the loss, walked to open the inning, and Hayes Nepveaux singled to put two on with no outs. Austin Braquet’s one-out single to left scored a run, and Bear Lyons followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 3-2. Beau Badon tied the game with his RBI single to center.
St. Martin’s regained the lead in the fourth as Davis opened the inning with a single, moved to third on a wild pickoff attempt and scored on Ben Bone’s RBI single. Bone scored on a two-out throwing error to make it 5-3.
The Saints added three insurance runs in the sixth on a bases-loaded infield single, a bases-loaded walk and an RBI groundout to set the final score.
St. Martin’s first baseman Kevin Bird led the offense going 3-for-4.
“I go into each at-bat with the same mindset, just crush whatever pitch they throw me,” he said. “That’s what I did tonight. I was just really confident. It’s a huge win and to end on a double play like that is big. It feels really great to be able to make it to the second round.”
Bird is scheduled to start against Cedar Creek as the Saints will enter the game on a five-game winning streak.