Replay: Jesuit maintains Catholic League lead with 8-3 win over Holy Cross
METAIRIE – A wind howling from foul pole to foul pole certainly isn’t something a pitcher wants to see.
However, Jesuit right-hander Will Hellmers overcame a slow start to pitch a complete game with 11 strikeouts and the Blue Jays put together the ultimate small-ball rally in the bottom of the fifth for an 8-3 victory over Holy Cross Saturday at John Ryan Stadium.
The victory, which was streamed live by Crescent City Sports, gives Jesuit a one-game lead in District 9-5A heading into the final week of the regular season.
Hellmers (7-1) allowed only three earned runs in his first eight starts this season, but the Tigers matched that total with two runs in the second and another in the fourth.
“I struggled a little bit in the first two innings,” said Hellmers, “but I came back and started pounding the (strike) zone and got through the whole game.”
The game was tied 3-3 heading into the bottom of the fifth when Jesuit blew the game open without benefit of a hit.
Hellmers reached on a throwing error to open the inning. Zack Casebonne walked and Parker Serio was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Courtesy runner Collin Loupe scored on a wild pitch to give Jesuit the lead, and the Blue Jays added another run on a fielder’s choice grounder to second base, with Casebonne beating the throw home.
Another walk to Joel Guerra re-loaded the bases, chasing reliever Aiden Patcheco. John Dade Wooton moved from first pitch to the mound and uncorked a pair of wild pitches to chase home two more runs before Luke Eccles’ sacrifice fly to center – the first ball hit out of the infield in the inning – plated the fifth run.
Holy Cross, which defeated Jesuit 3-2 on Thursday in the opener of the two-game series, jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the second on Chandler Welch’s RBI single and a sacrifice “fly” by Gavin Schulz on a pop-up to shallow right field.
Jesuit answered in the bottom of the inning on Guerra’s two-run single to right-center. The Jays could have scored more with the bases loaded and no outs, but Holy Cross starter Nico Saltaformaggio got a line-drive double play and a flyout to get out of the inning.
Loupe, who ran for Hellmers after a one-out single, scored on a wild pitch to give Jesuit a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the third.
Holy Cross answered on Luke St. Amant’s RBI single in the top of the fourth, but that would be the last hit allowed by Hellmers, who gave up six hits. He had at least one strikeout in every inning and has 89 strikeouts in 56 innings on the year.
Jesuit goes into the final week of the regular season at 21-8 overall and 8-2 in district play, a full game ahead of second-place Brother Martin, which is 7-3 in the Catholic League.
Jesuit meets Archbishop Rummel in a two-game series Tuesday at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium and Thursday at John Ryan, while Brother Martin faces St. Augustine in its final district series Tuesday night at Wesley Barrow Stadium and Thursday at Kirsch-Rooney.
Holy Cross (13-14, 5-5) has a two-game series against third-place John Curtis remaining.
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Lenny has been involved in college athletics since the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…