Jesuit Evens It Up by Shutting Out John Curtis, 1-0
Mason Mayfield “Rock Steady” on the Mound While Mark Beebe Singles Home the Jays’ Lone Run
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If there was something familiar about the Jesuit – John Curtis game Tuesday night at John Ryan Stadium, the similarities, strangely enough, invited comparisons and differences, to wit:
♦ The 1-0 score was identical as the first time the two rivals met in round one of District 9-5A play back on March 22 at Mike Miley Stadium.
♦ In the first game, each team mustered only three hits, with the Patriots scoring a lone run in the bottom of the fourth inning to shut out the Jays.
♦ Mason Mayfield was pretty good the first time he faced Curtis — allowing one run on three hits, no walks, and six strikeouts — and with each subsequent mound appearance, his confidence has grown.
♦ In Tuesday night’s game at the Ryan, the Patriots nicked Mayfield for five hits but he, along with Jesuit’s defense, denied them the joy of crossing home plate. He walked one batter and struck out five, and worked his way out of a couple of jams.
♦ After the Jays were shut out by Curtis in the first game, Coach Latino said: “Mason pitched well enough to win, but you have to give the young man support. And no runs is no runs.”
♦ After the Jays shut out Curtis in the second game, Coach Latino said: “Mason has been rock steady for us all year long and tonight was a good indication of what he’s given us all season.”
Jesuit (22-7 overall) improved its district record to 7-4 with the 1-0 shutout over first-place Curtis (9-2 in district). The win was the Jays’ fifth consecutive victory. Jesuit and Rummel are currently tied for second place in District 9-5A. In the all-important battle of power points, as of Wednesday, April 20, the Jays hold down the number four spot among Class 5A teams. The top three Class 5A teams are, respectively, Barbe, Lafayette, and Airline; Brother Martin is six, Curtis is 15, and Rummel is 16. Go figure.
Before the state playoffs begin Monday and Tuesday next week (April 25-26), Jesuit has one final district game to play, against Shaw on Thursday, April 21. The Jays and the Eagles start at 6:30 p.m. at Shaw’s baseball field on the West Bank. The LHSAA will release the baseball brackets on Sunday, April 24, and Jesuit, along with its rivals, will find out who plays whom, where, and when.
During the first four innings of the Jays and Patriots’ Tuesday night game at John Ryan Stadium, some fans looked like they had drifted off to nap land. Not much action between two prep titans. Nothing seemed to be happening. Staying awake meant taking a walk to the concessions for one of Miss Peggy’s splendid hot dogs, sans the savory chili but dripping with yellow mustard.
Nothing, that is, until the bottom of the fifth inning when the Jays’ center fielder, Stephen Sepcich, swung his bat. Everyone could hear the crack, or rather the toneless ping, when Sepcich connected, sending the ball screaming down the third base line and into left field’s foul territory for a lead-off double. After a sacrifice bunt by Hunt Conroy advanced Sepcich to third base, Marc Theberge watched four balls go by and hopped the bus for first base, bringing up Mark Beebe with one out.
Curtis decided to bring in a fresh arm and Coach Latino had a few moments to mull his strategy with Beebe, a three-sport letterman in football, basketball, and baseball.
“I was going to put on a hit and run just to get Theberge moving and try to stay out of the double play,” Coach Latino said. “But it looked like the pitcher Curtis brought in was elevating (his pitches) just a tad. I was worried about lifting the ball and doubling us up. So I just let Beebe hit and he came through in a big way.”
Well, that’s putting it mildly. Beebe laced a fastball that hung over the plate, launching it right up the middle. The Patriots’ shortstop got his glove on the ball but he was in shallow center field, and there was nothing he could have done to secure an out on the play. In the blink of an eye, Sepcich crossed home, Theberge advanced to third base, and Beebe was on first base with an RBI single. Beebe easily stole second base and it would have been nice to have added some insurance runs, or even pad it with a one-run annuity, but the Patriots’ new arm retired the next two batters, stranding Theberge and one of the Jays’ heroes of the game.
“I’m very proud of the seniors,” Coach Latino told WHNO-TV20’s Danny Riehm (a Jesuit alumnus, Class of 2002), who with SportsNola.com’s Kenny Trahan, was in the Stanley Ray Press Box at the Ryan broadcasting the game.
Coach Latino added that he was “real happy” for Beebe, who surely must have been the happiest of them all.