In Shutting Out the Eagles, 3-0, Jays Come Up with the Elusive Explosive Hit
Connor Maginnis Doubles in Two Runs and Richard Oubre Is Outstanding on the Mound
NOTE: The fifth-seeded Blue Jays will host Ouachita Parish (28th seed) in the opening round of the LHSAA playoffs on Tuesday, April 26, with first pitch set for 6 p.m. at John Ryan Stadium. Admission is $6 each for students, adults, and children (ages 6-11). Faculty and staff IDs will be accepted. Student IDs and season passes will not be accepted at the gate for LHSAA playoff games. The winner of Tuesday night’s game will advance to play a best two out of three series against the winner of the Destrehan vs. Denham Springs game.
View the LHSAA Class 5A Baseball Brackets.
View the Jesuit – Shaw Photo Gallery (Round 2)
Jesuit scattered eight hits, including a two-run double by Connor Maginnis, and Richard Oubre pitched a three-hit shutout, as the Jays won their sixth consecutive game, beating Shaw, 3-0, Thursday night on the Eagles’ home field.
It was Jesuit’s final game of the regular season before the LHSAA playoffs begin next week. The six-game winning streak is the longest for the Jays since the start of the season. Additionally, the shutout against Shaw was Jesuit’s third in a row. Earlier in the week, Jesuit beat John Curtis, 1-0, and on Saturday, April 16, the Jays blanked St. Thomas Aquinas (Hammond), the top-rated team in Class 2A.
Jesuit finished the 2016 regular season, which began back on February 25, with a 23-7 record. The Jays, who were the defending District 9-5A champions, finished in second place with an 8-4 record (behind the new champions, the Patriots of John Curtis).
As of April 21 and prior to the Shaw game, Jesuit was rated fourth in the all-important scramble for power points. Jesuit ended up as the fifth seed, the highest spot for a 5A team from the New Orleans area. The top four spots were occupied by Barbe, Lafayette, Airline, and Catholic High of Baton Rouge. The top 32 teams move into the playoffs and the first 16 will enjoy home field advantage for the opening playoff games. The LHSAA released its baseball bracket schedule on Sunday, April 24.
“This was a good way for us to close out the district schedule and head into the playoffs,” said Coach Joey Latino, who added that a lot of the credit for the victory over Shaw goes to Oubre, Maginnis, and Stephen.
“Richard did an outstanding job doing what he does best,” said Coach Latino. “He pounds the strike zone, keeps the ball low, and Stephen and Connor came through with the big hits tonight.”
Oubre, a senior right-hander who is enjoying his first year playing varsity, allowed only three hits and one walk. He struck out eight Eagles enroute to pitching a complete game for his fifth win against two losses this season.
“I was just trying to pound the (strike) zone and let my defense play behind me. It was a little shaky start, but we finished strong,” said Oubre, adding, “I knew it was going to be my last regular season game, so I left it all out on the field.”
The Jays broke open the game in the fourth inning. Stephen Sepcich singled and stole second base. Connor Maginnis drew a walk and Jake Licciardi, who singled in the second inning, hit his second bingle of the game to advance both base runners. With the bases loaded, a wild pitch brought Sepcich home from third base.
“When I was at third base, I was just trying to give a little spark to the offense,” Sepcich told Paul Geohegan (a Jesuit alumnus, Class of 2008) of The New Orleans Advocate. “With Richard doing as good a job as he did tonight, we kind of needed a little bit of a jump start. I saw the pitch and did it (ran home).
Sepcich said that Oubre and the defense did an outstanding job. He also made this observation: when Oubre settled into his pitching groove, “Our team started to have some fun, and when we have fun, good things happen.”
While the Jays took the lead, 1-0, the team really needed to shop for insurance, which came in the very next inning. Second baseman Brandon Briuglio singled and third baseman Hayden Fuentes beat out an infield grounder with the help of a throwing error. With two outs and courtesy runners Jake Chanove and Bryce Musso occupying second and third base, respectively, Maginnis uncorked a line drive double to left field, easily scoring both base runners and extending the Jays’ lead to 3-0.
“I was just trying to give Richard some support, just trying to help him out so he could have a little cushion because he was doing a great job on the mound,” said Maginnis.
The Jays scattered a total of eight hits (all singles with the exception of Maginnis’s double) around the Eagles’ field on the West Bank. Jesuit’s only hitless innings were the third and seventh. Shortstop Nick Ray had two singles in the first and sixth innings. Jake Licciardi singled in the second and fourth innings. Fuentes singled in the first inning, Briuglio did likewise in the fifth, and Sepcich’s hit came in the fourth.
But it was Maginnis’s two-out two-run double that elicited this comment from Coach Latino:
“We’ve talked about the importance of getting the explosive hit in the big moment,” he noted. “There were a lot of runs we left out there. Three runs are good and when your pitcher does the job that Richard did tonight, they’re going to hold up the majority of times. We’ve got to have separation. We’ve got to seize that big moment and turn a three-run lead into a five-or six-run lead, and that’s when you can really put pressure on teams.”
The New Orleans Advocate: Jesuit closes regular season strong with 3-0 win over Shaw