Blue Jays’ Season Adjourned
West Monroe Delivers the Knockout by Winning Best of 3 Series, Eliminating Jesuit from the Class 5A State Playoffs
Jesuit’s baseball team was knocked out of the Class 5A State Playoffs on Saturday by West Monroe whose Rebels needed only two games to sweep a Best of 3 Series at John Ryan Stadium.
After a seventh inning rally by the Jays fell just short in Friday’s opening game, which West Monroe won 9-7, Jesuit had to come back Saturday and put together two near-perfect games to advance to the quarterfinals. Unfortunately for the Jays, that didn’t happen.
The Rebels, the home team for this second game of the series, scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, but Jesuit put up a run in the top of the sixth.
“When we cut it to 2-1, we had some momentum,” said Coach Joey Latino. “I thought going into the last frame if we kept it right there, we had a good shot. Then they punched that run across in the bottom of the sixth which was big.”
In the final inning, the Jays had Ben Hess on second and Scott Crabtree on first base with two outs. Dan Edmund stepped up to the plate and blasted a hard line drive… that was snagged by the Rebels’ second baseman. West Monroe wins 3-1.
In the two games, the Jays left a total of 21 runners stranded; 10 in Friday afternoon’s game and 11 in Saturday’s game.
“We just couldn’t get the explosive hit,” said Coach Latino. “We did have some opportunities but we also worked out of some jams, too. I’m sure they left their share of men on base as well.”
For the Jays, Brandon Briuglio started on the mound and went three full innings, giving up six hits and two earned runs. “I thought Brandon pitched extremely well,” said Coach Latino, adding that two of the Rebels’ hits were back-to-back to open the fourth inning.
That’s when Coach Latino went to the bull pen for Mason Mayfield and moved Briuglio to second base. In the three innings Mayfield pitched, the Rebels had two hits and the one run in the sixth. Mayfield struck out two batters and Briuglio fanned one batter. Briuglio took the loss and finished 4-3.
The Jays mustered six hits, all singles, with designated hitter Jake Licciardi accounting for two of them. The other four hitters were Nick Ray, Myles Blunt (the other designated hitter), Hess, and Briuglio. Until West Monroe came to town, the Jays’ bats had been on fire.
“It seemed like every time we hit one on the screws, they had a guy standing right there,” said Coach Latino. “Credit West Monroe, excellent scouting on their part I’m sure. We had some success today getting their big guys out.”
The Jays finish the season with an overall record of 25-9. As District 9-5A champions, the Jays were 8-2.
After the game and the two teams shaking hands, the Rebels’ celebration was respectfully subdued. The Jays wandered slowly back to their dugout, heads bowed. When they looked up, they wore expressions that ranged from disbelief to shock. Several of the seniors on the team had their heads in their hands looking as if they were replaying something or some play that went wrong over and over and over. Inevitably, a few tears fell to the artificial turf.
Coach Latino mentioned the strong character of the senior players. “I love this team,” he said. “I can’t say enough about them, especially my seniors. What they’ve done this year and what they’ve left in terms of legacy for those underclassmen, I just can’t put in words… This has been a great season in many regards. Coming back from being 2-2 in district and winning the district championship, overcoming adversity, overcoming a lot of criticism and doubt. It’s unfortunate it ends this way. I’ll look back on this season and in my eyes, it’s a success.”