Has Brother Martin baseball saved its best for last?
It appeared that way Friday when every Crusaders starter collected a hit in support of All-Metro right-hander Brandon Bonura’s six-inning, three-hitter that produced a 13-2 Catholic League victory at Holy Cross.
Left fielder Blaine Starring went 3-for-4 with a triple and an RBI while first baseman Tre’ Morgan, second baseman Ethan Moser and designated hitter Caden Nash each rapped out two hits in addition to combining for five RBIs Brother Martin pounded 14 hits off three Holy Cross pitchers.
Brother Martin (21-5, 7-3 in District 9-5A) was in control throughout in winning its fourth straight and eighth in nine games after an 0-2 start to district play.
The Crusaders took leads of 3-0, 6-1 and 8-2 before ending the game via the 10-run rule with a five-run sixth that featured six hits.
Brother Martin’s dominant performance also earned the Crusaders a split of their two-game series against the Tigers whose 6-1 victory on April 3 represents Brother Martin’s lone loss since March 21.
“I think that was the best game we’ve played inside of district,’’ Brother Martin coach Jeff Lupo said. “We played a complete game. We played clean (defensively). Brandon pounded the strike zone. And if I’m not mistaken, I believe everyone in the starting lineup had a hit for us.
‘So this is a special group of kids, and not just because of their ability, but because of their character. They have continued to battle back all season.’’
Martin’s victory also keeps the Catholic League favorites in hot pursuit of front-running Jesuit (20-8, 7-2). The Blue Jays swept the Crusaders in each team’s opening Catholic League series.
Brother Martin has two league games remaining against St. Augustine on Tuesday and Thursday after playing a nondistrict game at St. Charles Catholic at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Jesuit hosts Holy Cross (13-13, 5-4) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday before closing Catholic League play against Rummel on Tuesday and Thursday. The Tigers defeated the Blue Jays 3-2 on Thursday at Holy Cross Park.
“We came out and played hard,’’ Morgan said after finishing 2-for-3 with a two-run single that opened the scoring in the three-run top of the first that concluded with the junior LSU commitment scoring the third run via the second of five Holy Cross wild pitches on the afternoon.
“Coach Lupo told us before the game that the rest of the season is in our hands. We came out and played like it.’’
Starring led the hit parade from the bottom of the lineup with a second-inning single, fifth-inning triple and RBI-single in the five-run sixth. Nash went 2-3 with RBI singles in the third and sixth, and Moser was 2-for-4 with a RBI single in the sixth.
Bonura (6-2) closed the victory in workmanlike fashion with four scoreless, no-hit innings after surrendering single earned runs in the first and second. The Crusaders senior struck out two and walked two.
“(Holy Cross) called us out after the game they beat us last week, so we wanted to prove to them what kind of team we have,’’ Bonura said. “Our defense was amazing. I know the type of pitcher I am. I’m not going to strike out everybody, so I let my defense do their job.’’
“After the Jesuit series, we heard a lot of talk about how we weren’t going to live up to expectations,’’ Morgan said. “We have tuned that out, stayed within ourselves and have had good practices in hopes of living up to our own expectations.’’
“You play a bunch of games and sometimes some of them can get away from you,’’ Holy Cross coach Trey Guillot said. “Pitching and defense have been good for us the last few games, but our pitching just wasn’t that good today. I thought we swung the bats well, but when you give up that many extra outs (via errors), it’s hard to come back from something like that.’’