Archbishop Shaw pitcher Jace Nini had a decision to make after Tuesday night’s opening-round game against Zachary: Was he more excited with his performance on the mound or at the plate?
Nini not only threw what he called the best performance of his career, but he also went 3-for-3 with a home run in the No. 30 Eagles’ 7-1 upset on the road over the No. 3 Broncos (26-8). Shaw improved to 18-13.
“This is probably the best feeling,” Nini said, ultimately choosing his pitching as the better performance. “I just didn’t want to make this my last game, and I just wanted to do as much as I could to help the team.”
Shaw’s ace threw eight strikeouts while allowing just one run on six hits and a pair of walks during a complete-game showing to even his record to 6-6.
He also finished a triple shy of a complete hitting circuit, sending a shot over the left field wall in the sixth inning off Zachary starter Cory Musselman.
Nini was also responsible for what would later become the game-winning run in the first inning when he crossed the plate on a Kyle Flettrich single just over the Zachary second baseman’s head.
Flettrich put the final nail in the Bronco’s coffin in the seventh inning when he rocked a fastball off the center field wall with the bases loaded for a three-RBI double.
“It shows how much heart we have and how much fight we have,” Flettrich said. “We had our best pitcher on the mound and we were coming after them.
“I couldn’t sleep last night I was so excited to play these guys.”
The scene was drastically different in the Zachary dugout as the Broncos began to cope with the end of their season.
Zachary coach Jesse Cassard summed up the night as unlucky after the Broncos failed to produce more than a lone run despite putting at least one runner in scoring position in five of the seven innings.
Cassard specifically pointed to the fifth inning which ended with a double play after the Broncos were able to load the bases with one out.
“It was a combination of not having much luck and not executing, and they have a guy that would beat anybody in the state,” Cassard said. “Our guys worked their butts off to get to this position and we ran into that guy (Nini). We knew what he was coming with and they bought into it, things just didn’t go our way.”
Holy Cross- Rummel, ppd: Tuesday’s scheduled game between Holy Cross and Rummel was postponed and will be played at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium.
The two Catholic League foes split a pair of games during the regular season.
The Raiders are the No. 15 seed and the Tigers are the 18 seed.
The winner of the game will advance to play Baton Rouge Catholic in a best-of-three series. Catholic beat Alexandria 13-3.
West Monroe 15, Chalmette 5: The Owls, a No. 24 seed, saw their season come to an end in five innings with a loss to No. 9 seed West Monroe in the 5A playoffs.
Chalmette, the District 8-5A champions, finished the season 27-8.
Belle Chasse 5, Assumption 0: The Cardinals, a No. 12 seed, blanked No. 21 Assumption to advance to the second round.
Belle Chasse, the champions of District 10-4A, improved to 15-13 and will play No. 5 Teurlings Catholic in a best-of-three series in the second round of the Class 4A playoffs.
Crowley 8, Riverdale 4: Riverdale, a No. 24 seed, fell to No. 9 Crowley in the bidistrict round of the Class 4A playoffs.
Riverdale finished 18-7.
Lakeshore- St. Martinsville, ppd: The No. 13 Titans will host No. 20 St. Martinsville at 4 p.m. Wednesday after Tuesday’s game was postponed because of wet field conditions.
The winner will play Benton in the second round of the 4A playoffs.
St. Michael 4, Salmen 2: The Spartans fell to St. Michael the Archangel in the first round of the 4A playoffs.
Salmen got a strong start from senior pitcher Drew Kennedy, who stranded three runners in scoring position in the first two innings. The dam broke open in the third when he faced eight batters, and threw 40 pitches.
Salmen, a No. 27 seed, finished the season 10-17.
St. Thomas More 13, Pearl River 0: No. 2 St. Thomas More proved to be too much for Pearl River, winning in five innings in the 4A playoffs.