The final athletics team with an opportunity to win a district championship for Redemptorist High took a big step Friday toward that objective.
In order to do so the Wolves baseball team had to dig deep.
Redemptorist rallied from a four-run, first-inning deficit behind a 14-hit barrage and sterling relief pitching for a key 11-5 road victory over The Dunham School in a showdown of undefeated teams in District 6-2A.
“I’m thrilled to see the guys show resilience because it’s something we’ve been waiting to come around,” Redemptorist coach Daniel Jewett said. “Earlier in the year, we may have gone into cruise control and took the beating but this was great to see. I was very proud of the effort.”
Redemptorist (11-13, 5-0) can secure a share of the league’s championship with another win over Dunham (15-11, 3-1) in a home game scheduled at 5 p.m. Saturday weather permitting.
“This was a big game, and we should have played better,” Dunham coach Joey Thibodeaux said. “I look forward to whenever that next game is because we have to play better.”
Redemptorist, which will close next month, made up Dunham’s early stagger by getting its lead-off batter on each inning and scoring at least a run per inning. The Wolves took a 6-5 lead with a three-run third.
The Wolves had five hits in that inning against losing pitcher Alec Duhe (5-3). Highlighting that inning was consecutive doubles from Lee Whitaker (2-for-5), Connor Callihan and Hunter Todd (3-for-5, 2 RBIs). After the first out of the inning, Cameron Callihan broke a 5-5 tie with a run-scoring single.
“That’s what we needed to do,” said Redemptorist shortstop Devyn Samson, who went 2-for-4 with 3 RBIs. “We haven’t done that in a while this year. We’re finally starting to get it back.”
Dunham scored five times on six hits for a 5-1 lead with key hits coming on Duhe’s RBI triple and Kenneth Morgan’s two-run single. The Tigers left the bases loaded in the second and stranded four runners in scoring position.
Winning pitcher Caleb Nunez (3-0) got out of the second on a groundout and a called third strike and recorded three straight outs in the third after back-to-back singles from John Austin Volland (2-for-4) and Morgan (2-for-4, two RBIs).
“Caleb had the rough inning, and we backed him up,” Samson said. “He needed the confidence of the hitters to keep going. The second and third inning were great. He comes out of there with no runs after the bases were loaded. That’s what we needed.”
Reliever Jeremy Gajan pitched a scoreless final three innings, allowing only Miles Maheu’s two-out double in the fifth. He walked two and struck out three to earn a save.
Redemptorist, which reeled off 10 unanswered runs, scored single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings before adding two more in its at-bat.
Whitaker had two of his team’s six doubles, driving in a run in the process in the fifth and Samson’s sacrifice fly made it 9-5 an inning later.
Redemptorist also made Dunham pay for two of its six errors with unearned runs in the sixth and seventh after Todd’s hit-and-run single resulted in a run.
“They kept coming at us, and we kept letting them,” Thibodeaux said. “That was the end of it when they kept answering, and we just sat there and didn’t respond.”