Here’s an updated look at the Catholic League baseball standings after Saturday.
1. Mother Nature (7-0)
2. Holy Cross (5-2)
3. Jesuit (5-2)
3. Rummel (4-2)
5. Brother Martin (3-3)
6. Shaw (2-4)
7. St. Augustine (0-6)
Mother Nature, the only female competitor in the league, wasn’t a factor for the first part of the season.
But she started pouring it on (the rain that is) last week and wiped out the rest of the competition to take over first place.
She’s supposed to return to early-season form this week and will likely fall in the standings, but she’s done enough damage to perhaps affect the outcome of the race.
Teams have to squeeze in the remainder of their district schedule in the next seven days, which explains why three Catholic League games are scheduled for Sunday. The regular season has to be completed by next Saturday.
The LHSAA will release the baseball playoff brackets next Sunday, so it’s a race to beat the clock for teams who have been hit with the heavy downpours.
How crazy is it?
Rummel’s game on Saturday against Brother Martin was the Raiders’ first game since April 7, a layoff of 11 days.
Now Rummel has to play catch-up with a brutal baseball unfriendly stretch of four games in a four days.
Rummel will play Jesuit at 3 p.m. Sunday, Shaw oat 7 p.m. Monday and St. Aug at 7 p.m. Tuesday. They’ll get to rest Wednesday before finishing the season on Thursday at Holy Cross, making it five games in six days.
“For a fan who just enjoys the game, it can be a good thing,” Rummel coach Nick Monica said about the rigorous schedule. “These next few days are like one big Catholic League tournament. It should be exciting to watch if you’re a fan.”
While the fans may enjoy it, it will be a nightmare if you’re a pitching coach.
Finding enough arms to get through that many innings in such a short amount of times could be a challenge for most teams.
“It’s going to be tough,” Monica said. “Guys are going to have to throw strikes and give us what they can, then we have to go to the next guy. We have to play solid defense behind the pitchers. And the offense is going to have to show up because you’re going to be throwing some guys who haven’t thrown since tournament ball.”
For the players, the toughest part has been not playing.
“It was a little frustrating,” Jesuit sophomore Stephen Sepcich said. “We all love the game and look forward to playing.”
And the only thing worse than not playing?
At least that’s what the coaches will tell you.
“It’s been a long time since anybody has been able to get out on the field and get some good work in,” Monica said.
So far, Holy Cross has been affected by the layoff the most.
The Tigers were 5-0 and in first place after the first trip through the district schedule, but losses to Jesuit on Friday and Shaw on Saturday have created a tie with Jesuit for first (Mother Nature not withstanding).
“It’s been crazy, but everybody’s having to go through it,” said Holy Cross coach Greg Battistella about the layoffs and weather delays.
His team’s bats cooled off during after missing so many days of action. The Tigers scored just one run in the first 13 innings on Friday on Saturday.
“We got on our field twice this week, but we didn’t see live pitching,” Battistella said. “It was me pitching and we looked like a team that has been hitting against me.”
Those were Batistella’s words after Friday’s loss to Jesuit, which got a two-hit outing from pitcher Jack Burk.
Burk is one of several solid pitchers for Jesuit, which has arguably the deepest pitching staff in the league.
That will be key in what comes down to an arms race that will ultimately determine who will overtake Mother Nature to win the district championship.