After losing its first Catholic League game last week, John Curtis’ baseball team was eager to get back on the field and make up for its mistakes.
Rainy weather forced the Patriots (15-5, 4-1) to wait a week before they got back on the field, but they avenged that loss by squeezing out a 2-1 nail-biter over Holy Cross in a District 9-5A matchup at Mike Miley Playground on Tuesday night.
“It was frustrating for our guys to wait that long to get back out there, because I know they are really competitive,” Patriots coach Jeff Curtis said. “But you can see the week off kind of had a few of our guys a little rusty early, but we made enough plays in the end to pull it out.”
It took five innings for either team to score a run, but Curtis struck first after Kody Schexnayder came up with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth and belted a two-run double off the left field wall to give the Patriots a 2-0 lead.
Holy Cross (11-12, 4-2) attempted a rally with a Wes Robinson RBI single in the top of the seventh to cut the Curtis lead down to one run, but Ian Landreneau struck out Holy Cross’ Kyle Schexnayder to strand two Tigers’ runners and seal the win.
The Patriots are in sole possession of first place in District 9-5A, and with its next two games against a St. Augustine team that has still hasn’t won a game in district, Curtis has a chance to open up a sizable lead in the district standings.
“Every game in this league is important, but a win tomorrow (against St. Aug) would be huge,” Curtis said. “If we get another good pitching performance and execute the way we did tonight, we should be able to put ourselves in a good position.”
Coming off a strong sophomore season, Curtis decided to bring pitcher Daniel Cabrera, an LSU commitment, along slowly this season in preparation for a playoff run, but the Patriots decided to ramp up the junior’s workload recently.
Cabrera pitched five shutout innings, allowing three hits and two walks to go along with six strikeouts, and he said that he was happy with his performance Tuesday.
“I think I did really well tonight and the defense played really well behind me,” said Cabrera, who also had two of Curtis’ four hits.
“We just always had April in our mind the whole season, so now I wanted to start getting myself ready to play in those big games.”
After winning its first four games in Catholic League play, Holy Cross dropped its second game in as many days after giving up a seven-run, seventh inning in a loss to Rummel on Monday.
Holy Cross coach Cass Hargis said his team has to learn to take advantage of scoring opportunities in close games loss.
“We had a runner reach in each of the first five innings, but we just couldn’t get any runs,” he said. “We just have to learn from these two losses and make those plays when we need it.”