A couple of big swings allowed Jesuit to start a Thursday evening rally against Brother Martin.
A few more pushed Jesuit to its first Catholic League title since 2012.
Thanks to a 9-3 win at UNO’s Maestri Field, the Blue Jays showcased their ability to relax then rally, a method which erased a three-run deficit after the first inning.
“I couldn’t stress that more to them after the game,” Jesuit coach Joey Latino said. “You get hit in the mouth like that early in the game, and you’re going up against a good pitcher like Blair Frederick, it could be a little dicey.
“But I think the boys stayed calmed. We kept our composure.”
Trailing 3-0, Ben Hess and Trent Forshae drove in consecutive runs in the third, followed by Jake Licciardi’s solo home run — his first of the season — in the fourth. In the fifth, Scott Crabtree and Hayden Fuentes doubled, driving in two runs apiece.
Crabtree, though, wasn’t finished. In the seventh, he found an opening in right field, driving in two more runs with a double.
“We started (the 2015 season) out 2-2, and not too many people had faith in us, but we always knew we could do it,” said Crabtree, who will play college baseball at UNO next season, making Thursday’s game a hopeful winning glimpse into his future.
From there, starter Brandon Briuglio and closer Mason Mayfield kept Brother Martin off the bases, limiting the Crusaders to three hits. Mayfield, who entered in the seventh, retired the side.
Since 2007, either Jesuit or Brother Martin has won or shared the Catholic League title.
This season, though, belongs to Jesuit (24-7, 8-2), which in recent weeks has competed against rain delays as much as district opponents.
Not that Brother Martin (19-11, 5-5) made it easy.
In the first, Chase Dolly’s three-run shot threaten Jesuit’s shot at an outright title, with Holy Cross baseball players, some in attendance, hoping for a Brother Martin win and a share of the Catholic League title.
Yet Brother Martin’s heroics were confined to the first, with the Crusaders allowing 12 hits.
“They put some good swings on him,” Brother Martin coach Mark Wisniewski said of Frederick’s outing.
“Last time, he held them at bay for seven innings. (Thursday), it just didn’t happen.”
Both teams are hoping for home games during the first round of the playoffs.
“They’re a great team over there,” Crabtree said of Brother Martin. “When we play them, they always play hard. So we’re real happy for this win.”