It was Senior Day for Rummel on Thursday at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium.
But for Holy Cross, this game meant even more.
Win and the Tigers were likely in the playoffs. Lose and no chance.
Holy Cross kept its playoff hopes alive, putting together two big innings to beat Rummel 11-7 in the Catholic League finale for both teams.
“This was real big for us, do or die,” said Holy Cross junior Cyle Clanton. “If we didn’t win, we didn’t have a chance to make the playoffs.”
The Tigers (14-16, 7-5 in District 9-5A) started the week as the No. 34 team in the LHSAA’s Class 5A power rankings. Only the top 32 teams qualify for the playoffs that begin next week.
First-year Tigers coach Cass Hargis said he thinks Thursday’s win should be enough to get his team in.
“I’m not 98 percent sure we’re in,” Hargis said. “It was big. We talked about it before the game. But the one thing we wanted to make sure of was that it put no more pressure on us. We wanted to play loose, have fun and play the game hard and good things would happen.”
Holy Cross scored four runs in the second and six more in the fourth to avenge an 8-5 loss to Rummel.
The Tigers took advantage of a pair of Raiders errors and a wild pitch in the second inning to build a lead. Kye Schexnayder’s sacrifice fly to center gave the Tigers a 4-0 lead in the inning.
Rummel cut its deficit in half in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single by Luke LaCoste followed by Kevin Meehan drawing a bases-loaded walk to make it 4-2.
Rummel added a run in the third, but Holy Cross broke it open in the fourth when 11 batters came to the plate.
Clanton delivered the big hit with a bases-loaded double to drive in three runs.
“I was just thinking of getting a hit,” Clanton said. “It was a 3-2 count, bases loaded. I was just thinking about getting a hit and getting us in position to score some runs.”
Grant Schulz had an RBI triple in the inning, and Wes Robinson drove in a run with a single as well.
“When our offense works, that’s what it looks like,” Hargis said. “We run the bases and put the pressure on the defense. That’s what we were able to do.”
Rummel (18-11, 7-5) tried to rally in the sixth and cut it to 11-7. The Raiders had a chance to score more but stranded two runners in the inning.
“We walked way too many guys,” Rummel coach Nick Monica said. “Out of the 38 guys we faced, the first pitch was a ball to 25 of them. You just can’t get guys out like that. We didn’t make a couple routine plays that we needed to make.”
Brenden Taravella went 5.1 innings and earned the win for the Tigers. Alex Wilz pitched the final 1.2 innings.
Rummel, which started the week as a No. 18 seed, will likely have to travel in the first round of the playoffs after losing to Holy Cross, one day after also losing to Belle Chasse.
The Raiders finish their regular season Friday against Lutcher.
“It would be nice if we could be good in all three phases of the game before going into the playoffs,” Monica said.
Luke LaCoste, who took the loss for the Raiders, had two hits, including a two-run double. Chase Fourcade, one of 13 Rummel seniors recognized before the game, was 3-for-4. Darren Willis also had two hits for Rummel.
Schulz had a double and a triple to lead Holy Cross. Cole Nalesnik also had a pair of hits for the Tigers.
“It was a big game and gave us a shot,” Shulz said. “We knew this could have been it for us.”