Baseball: John Curtis handles Rummel in Catholic League opener, 8-1

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John Curtis baseball
(Photo: Bill Arthurs)

NEW ORLEANS – Having won consecutive Division I state championships, John Curtis Christian has sent a ton of talent to the next level, leaving Jeff Curtis with a young team in 2019.

While the Patriots have had their moments against a challenging schedule, they entered District 9-5A play with a losing record Tuesday against a good, hot Archbishop Rummel squad that came in having won four straight games, scoring 31 runs in its last three games, averaging 8.2 runs per game and batting .306 as a team.

The young team perhaps is beginning to come of age while the hot team was iced.

Freshman Logan O’Neill and sophomore Michael Curtis combined on a one-hitter as the Patriots dominated from start to finish in an 8-1 victory over Archbishop Rummel at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium.

“It was pretty good out there, I had the team backing me up and telling me how I was doing but it was a team thing, not one player,” O’Neill said. “Coach told me I was going on the mound today and I was like I was going to bring it.”

The Raiders (13-5) were hitless until they were down to their final out when Lance Johnson singled to left, scoring Tyler Cook, who had walked, in the top of the seventh to end a no-hit bid.

The Patriots (7-8) pounded out 11 hits, including three by Collin Guggenheim and two by Dax Ford while Austin McCready drove in a pair of runs and the Patriot defense was air-tight, turning a pair of double plays.

“This is really an ultimate team victory for us,” Jeff Curtis said. “I got a text from Collin this morning about 6:30 that he had been throwing up all night and his stomach was hurting. He said he was not sure how much he would be able to give me so we made the decision not to start him behind the plate which kind of affected our decision on the mount. We went to the freshman Logan O’Neill. I’ll be doggone if he goes out there and does a great job and we did a great job offensively. It was the ultimate team victory for us.”

Guggenheim, who is the star quarterback on the John Curtis state championship baseball team, recently finished playing basketball for the Patriots.

“I think finally playing in a couple of baseball games I got my feet back wet, getting back in the swing of things,” Guggenheim said. “These seniors, they’ve done a great job of leading this team in my absence and I’ve got to give all the credit to them and Logan pitched his butt off today and I’ve got to give credit to him, too! The game plan was to attack early and attack often and that’s what we live by, that’s how we play.”

The Patriots came out aggressively, attacking the first pitch against Matt Villa to start the game. Guggenheim ripped a double to left and Dax Ford was hit by a pitch. O’Neill advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt and McCready drove home Guggenheim with a sacrifice fly to give Curtis a 1-0 lead.

Curtis added a run in the third. Guggenheim, Ford and O’Neill singled to load the bases and McCready singled home Guggenheim to make it 2-0. Villa escaped further damage with the aid of a double play.

The Patriots continued to swing the bats well against Villa in the fourth inning. Richard Woodruff was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Reggie Bergeron.

Justin Brown grounded into a fielder’s choice but the inning was extended when Guggenheim struck out but reached on a wild pitch. Ford took advantage with an RBI single, scoring a run before an error plated another run and a passed ball scored a third, making it 5-0.

Curtis continued the assault in the top of the sixth as Ford walked, O’Neill reached on an error, a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third and Michael Curtis singled sharply to right, plating both to make it 7-0.

Guggenheim put a cap on the one-sided affair with an RBI double in the top of the seventh, plating another unearned run after the third error of the game by the Raiders.

Villa was not sharp but he did not have any support defensively or at the plate. He went four and two-thirds innings, allowing seven runs (only two earned) on 10 hits. Villa walked one, hit three batters and struck out four, taking his first loss of the season. Kaine Casady pitched the final inning and a third for Rummel, yielding an unearned run.

While the Patriots were playing flawlessly, the Raiders did nothing right, struggling on defense, on the mound and at the plate.

“Matt didn’t have his stuff today, they barreled some balls and a couple of chances we had to make plays, we didn’t make plays,” Rummel coach Nick Monica said. “With the exception of Lance Johnson, I thought he consistently gave us something every at-bat, other than that, I’m not happy there, either. I guess it’s just unfortunate this happened the first district game. We can’t get in panic mode. We’ve played some pretty good baseball to this point. Hopefully, we will learn from it. We still have five sophomores out there.”

The teams will play again Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Mike Miley Stadium in a game that you can watch live at CrescentCitySports.com.

The Patriots, who have won the Catholic League title in all three seasons it has competed in the storied league, showed that they will be a force again Tuesday.

“It’s very important to start off district this way, especially after the tough schedule that we’ve played to this point, facing a lot of good pitchers,” Jeff Curtis said. “That’s what we’re going to see from here on out.”

Are the Patriots ready to turn the corner and become the elite team they have been the last two years?

“We took some lumps early in the season, losing a lot of seniors and a lot of people doubted us but this is putting us in the right direction, right where we need to be,” Guggenheim said.

Final
Curtis 101 302 1 — 8 11 0, 11 LOB
Rummel 000 000 1 — 1 1 3, 7 LOB
WP—Logan O’Neill (2-1)
LP—Matt Villa (3-1)
Time of Game: 2:20
2B—Collin Guggenheim (2)

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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE Owner and CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Football Foundation, College…

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