Strong pitching, timely hitting and steady defense lifted St. Charles Catholic to the regional round of the Class 3A playoffs on Friday as the Comets came away with a 7-0 win over Thomas Jefferson in LaPlace.

“I thought our kids played with a lot of focus,” Comets coach Wayne Stein said. “I just asked them to play with the same intensity we had when we played John Curtis, and if we did that we had a chance to play well.”

B.J. Waguespack pitched a shutout, giving up just two hits and striking out six.

“What helps me on the mound is knowing that I have defense behind me that’s into the game along with me and can make the plays,” Waguespack said. “That’s really what makes a pitcher.”

Waguespack retired the first 11 batters he faced. The two hits he gave up were an infield single in the fourth inning and a single to left field in the sixth, which Connor Western scooped up and quickly threw the ball to the catcher Austin Weber to get Will Allen out at the plate and preserve the shutout.

St. Charles scored in each of the first four innings. It broke the game open in the second with a bases-loaded, none-out opportunity. Kameron Keller knocked in two runs with a single to center field and Dane Authemont followed with a sacrifice fly to make it a three-run inning and extend St. Charles’ lead to 4-0.

“It felt great to put my team on top,” Keller said. “There’s nothing like it.”

The Comets continued to add to the lead by combining timely hits with aggressive base running, and scored one run in each of the remaining innings except the fifth. They played a clean game defensively, committing no errors on the day.

“I thought we played a complete game,” Stein said. “We played error-free and B. J. pounded the strike zone and we got some timely hitting and executed bunts. Those are things we had to do. ... We kind of limped into the playoffs, and we just tried going back to basics and it paid off today.”

St. Charles will next play Wednesday against the winner of South Beauregard and Baker.