Jarod Tassin isn’t known as being one of the loudest players on the Brother Martin baseball team, but he allowed his bat to do all the talking on Friday night.
The senior hit a bases-loaded single in the seventh inning to cap an improbable 9-8 comeback victory for the No. 8-seeded Crusaders (19-7) over No. 25 St. Amant in the first game of a best-of-three regional playoff series at Wesley Barrow Stadium.
“I knew my team believed in me, I just waited on my pitch and swung on it once I got it,” said Tassin, who went 2-for-3 at the plate for the night.
“We tried to have confidence in each other the entire way, and I’m glad I was able to come through for them.”
Trailing 8-4 going into the bottom of the seventh inning, Brother Martin hit three consecutive singles to set up a bases-loaded two-run single by Joel Bergeron, which cut the St. Amant lead to one run after a Crusaders runner was sent home following a defensive interference call.
After Mason Bonnaffons tied the game at 8-8 by drawing a bases-loaded walk, Tassin sent the game-winning hit down the left-field line to complete the Crusaders’ comeback.
Brother Martin can punch a ticket for its fourth consecutive trip to the quarterfinals with a win over the Gators (17-13) in Game 2 of the series at 1 p.m. Saturday at Wesley Barrow Stadium.
If necessary, a series-deciding Game 3 will be played at 4 p.m. Saturday.
“We talk about character all the time, and when adversity comes, our guys believe they can step up,” Brother Martin coach Mark Wisniewski said. “But we know, by any measure, this thing is far from over.”
The Gators struck first Friday with a five-run second inning that began with a leadoff triple by Ivan Presean. He eventually scored on after a throwing error by Brother Martin to give his team a 1-0 lead.
After Briggs Bourgeois was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to bring in another run, Pat Wolfe added to his team’s lead with an RBI single.
Adam Sevario’s two-run single gave St. Amant a commanding 5-0 lead.
The Crusaders got back into the game with two-run singles by Bonnaffons and Blair Frederick in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively, but the Gators extended their lead again when Brother Martin lost a Reed Babin pop fly in the lights, allowing two runs across the plate to make the score 8-4.
“We did a lot things that were uncharacteristic for us tonight, especially on the defensive end,” Wisniewski said. “There are a lot of things that we have to learn from tonight, but our kids didn’t quit and I can’t be more proud of that.”
Both teams will have LSU signees on the mound Saturday. Brother Martin will go with its left-handed ace Blair Frederick, while the Gators will attempt to bounce back with Blayne Enlow on the mound.
“We anticipate another battle (Saturday),” St. Amant coach Troy Templet said. “We just have to put this one behind us and come out fresh.”