On Monday night, Holy Cross struggled early against Brother Martin, allowing five runs in the first two innings of a District 9-5A loss.
Two days later, Holy Cross borrowed a page from Brother Martin in its final district game of the regular season.
It worked. The Tigers scored five runs in the first three innings against St. Augustine and added another four in the fourth to dominate with an 11-2 victory at Wesley Barrow Stadium.
Third baseman Christian Clayton, three games back from a broken finger, had three of his team’s 10 hits, enough offense to allow the Tigers to improve to 16-15 and 4–6 in district. Holy Cross enters the game 20th in the Class 5A Power Rankings, also good enough for a spot in the playoffs. Holy Cross ends the regular season Saturday at home against St. Thomas Aquinas.
“We’re going to draw somebody good (in the playoffs). I don’t know who it will be,” Holy Cross coach Greg DiCenzo said. “But they’re going to get our best punch (on the mound).”
On Wednesday, Zach Autin started Holy Cross’ scoring. His shot to center drove in two runs in the first. Jarod Turner’s sacrifice grounder added a third run.
Turner did it again in the third, and Christian Volion followed with a RBI double to left center.
In the fourth, St. Augustine’s mistakes were to blame for most of the Holy Cross’ scoring. The Tigers led 6-0 after a ball by reliever Cornell Carter, who took over for starer Toi Jackson. An error at first led to a run; a wild pitch allowed another; with the bases loaded, Matt Disalvo’s single up the middle asses a fourth run.
“It’s always nice to get on a team real quick, and get hot,” Autin said. “It really kills their momentum if they come out hyped up, and we get on the quick.”
On the mound, right-hander Matt Muhlisen (7-2) enjoyed one of his better outings in recent weeks by pitching four scoreless innings before St. Augustine tallied its only runs in the fifth. Muhlisen allowed four hits in his compete-game outing. He also had five strikeouts.
Erv Batiste’s RBI double to right field in the bottom of the fifth gave St. Augustine it’s first run. Bryce Washington followed with a double to the gap in left center, driving in a second run.
Still, the Purple Knights were unable to match Holy Cross’ bats. St. Augustine, appearing in its season finale, dropped to 10-16 and 0-10 on district.
“Things didn’t come out the way we wanted to, but I’m real proud of our kids,” St. Augustine Coach Ryan Sims said. “We’ve got some seniors moving on, and we want to make sure they work just as hard in life as they did in baseball.”