A few late-game mistakes were enough for Brother Martin to snatch a comeback victory against Shaw earlier in the week, but the Eagles returned the favor Friday.
Shaw (8-12, 3-4 District 9-5A) came up with some clutch hits and took advantage of some untimely errors by the Crusaders to pull off a 6-5 comeback victory in a Catholic League game at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium.
“It’s crazy, in this game it seems like those late-game mistakes seem to always come back and bite you,” Shaw coach Kirk Bullinger said. “I know their dugout was stressing to them to get those final outs and get this thing over with.
“But then they made a mistake and left the door open, so we came along and just kicked it in.”
After trailing the entire game, the Eagles fought their way back into the game and took the lead for good with a five-run top of the seventh inning.
With the bases loaded, the Crusaders (14-4, 4-3) attempted to get a double play off a ground ball to second base, but an errant throw allowed two Shaw base runners to score.
Matt Keller added an RBI single and Keith Meier came up with an RBI single of his own that bounced over the head of a Crusaders outfielder and allowed two runs to score, giving the Eagles the deciding margin.
Meier then finished off the Crusaders in the bottom of the seventh for a complete-game win. He allowed five runs on 10 hits with seven strikeouts. He also finished 3-for-4 at the plate.
“I felt really good today, and I really wanted to help my team,” Meier said. “This was huge for us considering how good a team Brother Martin is, and hopefully we can just build on this and keep getting wins.”
After grabbing a 1-0 lead in the first inning, Brother Martin expanded its lead in the next inning with a two-run single from Brady Faust. That was followed with an RBI sacrifice fly from Blair Frederick that gave the Crusaders an early 4-0 lead.
Shaw got a run in the fourth with an RBI sacrifice fly by Cody Sposito, but Brother Martin brought its lead back to four after Kevin Stretzinger hit a screaming solo home run over the left field wall to give his team a 5-1 lead going into the sixth.
Brother Martin coach Mark Wisniewski said his team was in control for just about the entire game, but its lost focus in the end and let the game slip away.
“We had opportunities to score runs in the fifth and the sixth, and we just didn’t do it,” Wisniewski said. “We came in and made some mistakes in the last inning, and if you don’t focus for seven innings, you don’t deserve to win.”
With two consecutive wins against Catholic League opponents, Shaw is now one of five teams in 9-5A with either three or four district wins along with Holy Cross, Brother Martin, Jesuit and Rummel.
John Curtis sits atop the standings with a 6-1 mark.