NEW ORLEANS – Offense, defense and pitching: When you combine all three in one game, you are guaranteed to win.
John Curtis put together a complete effort to handle Rummel 6-2 at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium in a game heard live on WGSO, 990 AM Saturday afternoon.
Sophomore Ian Landreneau pitched six solid innings, the Patriots banged out eight hits and made two brilliant defensive plays and turned two double plays to complete a two-game district sweep of the Raiders to remain in first place in 9-5A.
“We absolutely played a complete game,” said John Curtis head coach Jeff Curtis. “We played on a fast surface. We’ve been playing a lot on the turf. It played fast. Early in the game, it affected us a little bit but we finally settled in and were able to make some huge defensive plays later in the game, got the key hits and got superb pitching out of Ian and Austin Haensel out of the bullpen.”
Sophomore third baseman Jay Curtis had two hits, two RBI, scored a run and made a huge defensive play for the Patriots to lead the way despite jamming his knee at first base on a groundout in the third inning.
“It felt really good,” Curtis said. “Ian was throwing a lot of strikes, working fast and they were putting the ball in play. We were ready for it. I love hitting with guys on base. On the triple, he threw me a curve ball on the first pitch and I was kind of expecting it. He hung one on the next pitch and I was able to square it up. There was no way I was going to come out of this game. I just reacted on the defensive play and did what I was supposed to do.”
The Patriots (18-6, 7-1) jumped on top immediately against Rummel pitcher Zach Cook. Mason Matherne opened the top of the first with a single to right. After Jordin Labruzza grounded into a fielder’s choice, Daniel Cabrera walked. Jay Curtis then tripled to center, scoring both runners to make it 2-0.
Curtis doubled its lead in the second inning. Sean Bretz singled and Nick Wilson walked. Kyle Burns singled home Bretz to make it 3-0, finishing Cook. Darren Willis relieved Cook and Mason Matherne made it 4-0 on a groundout to shortstop.
Rummel (14-9, 4-4) responded with two runs in the bottom of the second. Kevin Meehan singled to right and advanced to second on a passed ball. Daryl Deist singled to left, scoring Meehan to make it 1-0 and Meehan advanced to third on a throwing error. He scored on a groundout by Trent Tully to cut the deficit to 4-2.
The Patriots got the two runs back in the top of the fifth off of Willis. Curtis and Kody Schexnayder singled and Bretz delivered a run with a sacrifice fly to make it 5-2 and Nick Wilson singled home Schexnayder to make it 6-2.
“That response in the fifth inning was the biggest for us,” Curtis said. “They had a little bit of momentum. Once we were able to expand the lead back to four, we felt good about our pitching holding the lead. We had guys ready to go.”
The Raiders threatened in the bottom of the sixth as Chase Fourcade was hit by a itch and Lyall Ball doubled to the wall in left. Willis then grounded to third and Curtis made a great diving stop and threw Willis out from the ground. Meehan then lined toward Bretz, who used all 6-foot-five of his frame to leap and rob Meehan of an extra base hit and two sure runs. Landreneau got out of the jam by getting Diest to fly out to right.
“It was an unbelievable defensive play by Jay to dive and make the catch and throw from his knees,” Curtis said. “He made a heck of a play to his glove side and credit Sean Bretz for using every bit of his 6-foot-five frame to stretch for the catch he made. That saved two runs and maybe more.”
The Raiders threatened again in the bottom of the seventh as Landreneau walked Lane Leblanc and Zach Cook and he departed in favor of sophomore Austin Haensel, who beat Rummel in relief in the first meeting of the season. On a 3-2 pitch, Haensel got Kyle Costanza looking for the first out before inducing Luke Lacoste to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to end it.
Landreneau (4-1) used just 74 pitches in six innings, walking three and striking out three, allowing just one earned run on six hits.
“It’s really important to get ahead of hitters and I was able to do so most of the aternoon,” Landreneau said. “I had six or seven one-pitch outs and kept my pitch count low. It was really big to get some runs early. I was able to use all of my pitches to get some easy outs. It helped that Sean is 6-foot-five. Jay made the huge play and Austin came in and shut it down.”
Rummel head coach Nick Monica was impressed with the Patriots, who have won four straight Catholic League games.
“They looked like a championship team today,” Monica said. “We had a couple of chances late to get them with guys in scoring position but they just made very extraordinary plays. Give them all of the credit. Zach just didn’t have it today. We had a rested bullpen. Darren did a nice job to keep us in it. We had three good at-bats in the six innings but they just made the plays. That’s part of baseball.”
Curtis defeated Rummel 3-2 on March 26. The Patriots return to action Thursday in district play at Holy Cross at 4:30 p.m. while Rummel is back in action Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Maestri Field at First NBC Ballpark against Brother Martin in a game that you can listen to on WGSO, 990 AM and at WGSO.com.
JC 220 020 0 — 6 8 1, 7 LOB
AR 020 000 0 — 2 6 0, 6 LOB
WP–Ian Landreneau (4-1)
LP–Zach Cook (4-3)
Time of Game: 1:45