John Curtis beats Rummel to force playoff series-deciding game
As champions of the Catholic League for the fifth time in six seasons (either outright or shared), John Curtis Christian has been a very tough out, at times dominant against District 9-5A opponents.
With their backs to the wall, the third-seeded Patriots showed their fighting spirit and toughness Friday night, beating No. 6 Archbishop Rummel 4-2 to even the best-of-three Division I quarterfinal series at one game each.
On a night where the strike zone was as strange as you will see, league Most Valuable Player and Delgado commit Logan O’Neill showed why he earned that honor, taking advantage of an amazingly generous outside corner to pick up the win and he helped himself with a pair of RBI and added a single as well.
“Logan’s done that for us for four years,” Patriots coach Jeff Curtis said. “He wasn’t his sharpest but he gave us enough. He’s a baseball player. It doesn’t matter where we play him. He’s a throwback style kid. Anything I can do to help the team win, he will do it. He’s going to have a great future ahead of him.”
O’Neill went four innings, pitching out trouble in every inning, allowing just one run on four hits. O’Neill walked four and struck out eight. Josh Lopez came on to pitch the final three innings to pick up a hard-earned save.
“I can’t say enough about Josh Lopez coming out of the bullpen,” Curtis said. “Just an unbelievable team guy, the epitome of what a Patriot is. He knows his role, comes in, and just has three shutdown innings.”
Coming off a 3-2 loss Thursday night, the Patriots jumped on top in the first inning.
Tulane commit Michael O’Brien doubled off the glove of Anthony Mouney in left field, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a groundout to short by O’Neill to take a 1-0 lead.
The Raiders tied in the bottom of the fourth on singles by Mouney and Gavin Nix, a walk to Evan Burg and a bases loaded walk to LSU commit Mikey Ryan but the Raiders stranded the bases loaded when O’Neill, facing his final batter of the game, struck out Rhett Centanni looking to end the threat.
In the fifth inning, the Patriots took a 3-1 lead, scoring a pair of unearned runs as Reed Duthu and O’Brien singled and Buddy Micheu hit a fly ball to shallow left field that was misplayed, scoring a run to make it 2-1. O’Neill followed with a sacrifice fly to make it 3-1.
Rummel (22-15-1) drew closer with a run in the bottom of the fifth on a single by Josh Sterling, a walk to Brock Bullinger, a sacrifice bunt by Mouney and a fielder’s choice groundout by Casey Avrard, scoring courtesy runner Gage Bode to make it 3-2.
Curtis completed the scoring in the top of the sixth inning when Austin Ackel was hit by a pitch and pinch-hitter Andrew Martinez doubled down the third base line. Reed Duthu drove home curtesy runner Jason Curtis with a single to make it 4-2.
Lopez retired Rummel in order in the bottom of the seventh to secure the win, the only inning in which the Raiders did not have a baserunner. Rummel stranded 11 runners in the contest.
Rummel ace Giancarlo Arencibia took the loss, going six innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on six hits. Arencibia walked three and struck out six. Cole Bordes pitched a scoreless seventh for the Raiders.
“We missed a bunch of opportunities,” Rummel coach Frank Cazeaux said. “Hats off to Curtis, they played very hard and they are a very good team. We have to play our best to win and we did not do that tonight. We will rebound quickly and have to.”
With the win, John Curtis (20-11) forces a third and deciding game Saturday morning at 11 a.m. You can watch it live on CrescentCitySports.com, followed by the third and deciding game between No. 2 Brother Martin and No. 10 St. Augustine at 2:30 p.m., also live at CrescentCitySports.com.
“It will be very early and it’s going to be hot,” Curtis said. “I think the most mentally and physically tough team is going to win tomorrow”
JC 100 021 0 4 7 1, 8 LOB
AR 000 110 0 2 6 2, 11 LOB
WP—Logan O’Neill (4-1)
LP—Giancarlo Arencibia (5-3)
SV—Josh Lopez (4)
Time of Game: 2:31
2B—Michael O’Brien, Andrew Martinez, Evan Burg
Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE 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 Sports Media Association, National Football…