Brother Martin’s Raphael Deroche learned just how much pop he has in his bat. So did his mom, who missed his second big swing of the week with an ill-timed trip to the concession stand Saturday afternoon.
Meanwhile, 15th-seeded Zachary discovered just how hard it is to return to the Class 5A state championship game — this time, as a lower seed.
Deroche jump-started second-seeded Brother Martin’s latest offensive spurt at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium with his second home run in as many days — the first two of his prep career — as the Crusaders dominated late for an 8-2 victory during Game 2 of a regional playoff series.
Brother Martin (30-4), also winners of Friday’s Game 1, advances to the quarterfinals to play 10th-seeded Live Oak, which eliminated 26 East Ascension in two games.
Just like Friday, Deroche broke open a tight game with another shot deep to left.
“He threw me a fastball, up and in, and I just turned on it,” Deroche said. “I just tried to make the most out of it.”
Zachary’s season ended at 22-13, its up-and-down performance in District 4-5A as much to blame as Saturday’s inabilty to curtail Brother Martin’s bats.
“We wouldn’t have been in this spot had we won some more games during the season,” Zachary coach Jesse Cassard said of facing the powerful Crusaders. “We’re too good of a team to be a 15th seed. We played for a state championship last year; maybe there was some complaceny.”
Brother Martin, which trailed 2-0 after the second inning, scored one run in the third and fourth, then three in the fifth, highlighted with Deroche’s two-run shot over the left field wall, a play which knocked Zachary starter Cory Musselman out of the game.
Two batter later, Jarett Gongora drove in another run with a single to right.
The Crusaders did not clinch their second consecutive trip to the 5A quarterfinals until they scored another three runs in the bottom of the seventh. Daniel Lahare and Gongora drove in runs, and Greg Deichmann hit a sacrifice fly which increased the lead to six.
“We all knew we had to come out and play well to beat Zachary in a best-out-of-three series,” said Gaconi, who allowed eight hits in a complete game outing. He also had three strikeouts and one walk. “We got some good pitching. I knew we were going to pull this one out.”
Gaconi got out of a jam in the sixth when Troth doubled to left with a shot past third base. Bo Myers then reached on an infield single. But Mikie Rider grounded out and Douglas Coleman struck out.
“Coach (Cassard) said we’re going back to work Monday,” said Troth, one of the Broncos’ five seniors. “I’m not. They are.
“Losing in the second round really isn’t acceptable.”