Rummel pitcher Chris Boudreaux wasn’t quite so sure he’d get the chance to be the one to keep the Raiders’ winning streak going.
Boudreaux had gone the distance, but the streak was now in jeopardy and Raiders’ coach Nick Monica was walking to visit him on the mound.
Bottom of the seventh.
Bases loaded, one out and Shaw’s best hitter (Jace Nini) at the plate and the Raiders clinging to a one-run lead.
“I had a feeling he was going to pull me,” said Boudreaux (4-2) “I kind of begged him, honestly, to stay in because I wanted this win.”
Boudreaux worked out of the jam, striking out Nini then getting Zach Autin to fly out to right as Rummel remained perfect in Catholic League play with a 2-1 victory over Shaw.
It was the ninth straight victory for the red-hot Raiders (14-9, 3-0 in District 9-5A) and came despite just two hits.
Shaw pitcher Jace Nini (2-4) kept Rummel in check all game, throwing a no-hitter through the first four innings before becoming the tough-luck loser.
“We are finding a way to win the games that we were losing earlier and that’s been the key to the confidence,” Monica said. “(Nini) was really good today.
“You have to tip your hat to him. We only had two hits, but we made them count when we did get them. It’s just good that we found a way to win.”
Rummel threatened in the top of the fourth, getting a pair of base runners on back-to-back Shaw errors with one out. But Shaw second baseman Kyle Flettrich came up with a defensive gem to help bail the Eagles out, going deep behind second base for a grounder to throw out Tyler Neece. Nini then got a strikeout, one of his seven of the game, to keep it scoreless.
The Raiders didn’t get their first hit until the fifth inning when Ashanti Wheatley doubled to center. Collin Ward followed by drawing a walk. Quinn Dantagnan moved both runners over with a sacrifice and Kyle Costanza was intentionally walked to bring Kevin Meehan to the plate.
“I was thinking that’s good, they want me, I’ll take it,” said Meehan, who drove in two runs with a single to center.
“I was expecting a fastball right down the middle and that’s what I got,” he said. “We know who we are. We feel like we can fight with any team.”
While Wheatley had Rummel’s first hit, he also came up with one of the game’s best defensive plays. He robbed Lance Landry of at least a double by tracking down a shot that appeared to be going over his head, somehow sticking his glove up and coming up with the highlight grab.
“I got a late jump on it,” Wheatley said. “But we have been playing good defense all year and so I just hustled to the ball and made the play.”
The Raiders also had a pair of inning-ending double plays.
“I owe a lot of this win to my defense,” Boudreaux said. “They did a lot for me today. (Wheatley’s catch) was amazing. It got me more pumped up than he was.”
Caiden Reed had three hits to lead Shaw 12-7, 1-2). Nini had the Eagles’ lone RBI in the fifth, one of 11 hits for Shaw.
“If you had told me we were going to outhit them 11-2 and lose I would’ve said you are crazy,” said Shaw coach Kirk Bullinger. “But that’s the game of baseball. It is a crazy game. That’s why you don’t win just by looking at the stat sheet. They got two hits, but they got the two hits when they needed them. ... It’s a tough loss, but like I told the guys we have nothing to be ashamed of.”
Shaw will play Marrero neighbor John Ehret on Wednesday, while Rummel will play Fontainebleau with the hopes of running its streak to ten.
“Chris was phenomenal on the mound matching Nini today,” Monica said. “It was just a good all around effort.”