Blair Frederick was one strike away from the first no-hitter of his life.
Rummel’s Tyler Neece broke it up with a double to right field in the seventh inning and Ashanti Wheatley followed it later with a single.
So Frederick had to settle for a two-hitter, good enough to lead Brother Martin to a 2-0 victory in a Saturday night pitcher’s duel at Wesley Barrow Stadium.
“I started thinking about (the no-hitter) in the fourth inning, maybe a little too early,” said Frederick (4-2). “I almost had it, two outs with an 0-2 count. I left it in a little bit and he got some good wood on it. Other than that, my defense played great behind me and we closed them out at the end.”
Frederick, who stymied Rummel (16-11, 4-2) all game, had to work out of a bases-loaded jam in the final inning after the two hits and a walk.
“I was a little disappointed at first,” said Frederick about his reaction after giving up the first hit. “So I wanted to come back out finish the job and get the win.”
Frederick, who committed to LSU in February, finished with 10 strikeouts in a game that was played in a constant drizzle.
“Blair came out all night firing it in there, saying here’s my best and he did a great job,” Brother Martin coach Mark Wisniewski said. “These conditions weren’t ideal for either side, but he kept his composure and did a great job.”
The Crusaders’ victory created a logjam at the top of the Catholic League standings, with three teams (Holy Cross, Rummel and Jesuit) with two losses.
Brother Martin (17-9, 3-3), which plays Shaw on Sunday is just a game out of first place.
“This win was real big,” Frederick said. “We need to win out to win district and try to get our third straight district title. We didn’t start too well, so we need to finish strong.”
Frederick got the Crusaders going with a two-out double in the first inning.
Jonathan Parker drove Frederick in with a single to left.
Brother Martin added another run in the fourth inning that started with Chase Dolly’s leadoff walk. After a Kievin Stetzinger infield single, Luke Bernard laid down a sacrifice bunt and Dolly scored on a throwing error. The Crusaders had the bases loaded in the inning, but Rummel’s Scott Wetzel got out of the jam to keep it 2-0.
Wetzel was the tough-luck loser for the Raiders, pitching brilliantly. Wetzel went the distance and struck out eight and scattered four hits.
Brother Martin avenged a 7-3 loss to Rummel in the first meeting of the season.
“We just looked like a different ballclub offensively,” said Rummel coach Nick Monica, whose team was playing its first game since April 7. “I’m not going to use (the layoff) as an excuse. We’ve been able to hit in the cages. I just think (Frederick) beat us tonight. It was frustrating and disappointing from our point of view.”
Rummel plays Jesuit at 3 p.m. Sunday at John Ryan Stadium, while Brother Martin plays Shaw at 1 p.m. Sunday at Wesley Barrow.
“Pitching is at a premium now, so it was that much more important that Blair went the full distance for us,” Wisniewski said.