METAIRIE – If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
John Curtis Christian made sure the second verse was not the same as the first against Archbishop Rummel Wednesday night.
After falling to the Raiders Tuesday night, the Patriots took care of business the second time around, coming from behind to down Rummel 7-6 to claim their second consecutive Catholic League championship in as many years as a member in a thriller at Mike Miley Stadium.
In a highly competitive battle from start to finish, the Patriots prevailed when Brandon Davis reached on an error, advanced to second on a single by Cade Beloso, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored the winning run on a wild pitch by Lyall Ball.
“I never hesitated, I knew I was going,” Davis said. “I was going to score that run there. There was never a doubt, once I saw the ball in the dirt going back to the screen. We had to finish it there. It feels great to win the district again but we want to win state now.”
Patriots head coach Jeff Curtis was both excited and relieved afterward.
“We knew it would not be easy,” Curtis said. “Tip your cap to Rummel. They played as hard as we played. We just happened to come up with one more play than them. It was similar to what they did last night. It was a battle in both games. They came up with one extra play last night, we came up with one more tonight. That’s what this league is about.”
Curtis did not mask his enthusiasm when discussing a second straight district championship.
“It’s an honor to win this league championship. I’m just proud of how hard our guys played both night, really,” Curtis said. “It means a lot for the school, certainly. I just told these guys that last year’s team was last year’s team and this year’s team is this year’s team. Unfortunately, we had a hiccup in the first round of the playoffs last year. We are going to try to learn from it.”
On a night where John Curtis Christian honored their 1997 and 2002 state championship teams, the Patriots showed why they have been the best team in the league, displaying their powerful offense.
The most powerful hitter in the lineup put his immense skills on display. Junior Beloso, a junior and Tulane commitment, belted a two-run home run,a two-run double and a single to pace a 12-hit attack for the Patriots. It was Beloso’s seventh home run as he increased his RBI to 35 on the season in just 30 games.
“He was really disappointed last night after making an error and not having a great night at the plate,” Curtis said. “He texted me last night and told me he would be ready for tomorrow. He got up this morning, went and took an extended round of BP unsolicited and that’s just the type of player he is and the type of team we have. They love to compete. They embraced the moment tonight.”
Beloso, who transferred to Curtis prior to the season, got what he hoped for when he moved to the River Ridge school.
“It feels great,” Beloso said. “We knew from the beginning after they kind of punched us in the mouth a little bit that we would have to come out here and fight for our life. That’s just what we did. Hat’s off to Ian (Landreneau). He stayed in there and competed for seven innings. The offense finally came around and got the job done when we needed to.”
John Curtis left the bases loaded three times and stranded 14 runners.
With the win, the Patriots moved closer to clinching the top overall seed in the Division I playoffs in its battle with Catholic of Baton Rouge for that position.
It was a packed house with a fever pitch from the start.
Rummel took advantage of wildness by Curtis starter Ian Landreneau in the top of the second. Charlie Beck was hit by a pitch, Lane LeBlanc walked and with two outs, Ron Franklin walked to load the bases.
That brought up leading hitter Zach Cook, who delivered a base-clearing double to deep center to give the Raiders a 3-0 lead.
The Patriots loaded the bases on a single by Jay Curtis and a pair of walks in the bottom of the second but freshman Matt Villa fanned Alex Michel to end the threat.
Curtis broke through in the bottom of the third. Jordin Labruzza singled to left and Beloso homered over the 328 sign in right-center field to cut the deficit to 3-2.
Then came a 12 minute delay when a fracas broke out in the stands between a pair of unruly fans, who were asked to leave.
Jay Curtis reached on an error and Dax Ford singled but Cade Comeaux was out rounding second too far, costing the Patriots a run. Austin Haensel followed with a single to load the bases but Landreneau grounded out to second to end the threat.
Rummel had a chance to add to the lead in the top of the fourth. Jackson Dennies was hit by a pitch, Kade Rivera ran for him and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Franklin singled to right and Rivera tried to score but was thrown out at the plate by Tulane commitment Logan Stevens on a perfect throw.
The Patriots (24-6, 10-2) then came up with the big inning in the bottom of the fourth, sending 10 men to the plate scoring four times to take the lead.
Alex Michel doubled to left, ending the evening for Villa, who used 81 pitches in three plus innings. Luke Lacoste entered, who has had huge issues with control, and he promptly walked Brandon Davis and Labruzza to load the bases for Beloso, a bad idea.
Beloso ripped a two-run double to right, scoring Michel and Davis to make it 4-3, ending Lacoste’s evening on the mound. Ball took over for Rummel and allowed RBI singles to Austin Haensel and Landreneau, all runs charged to Lacoste, and it was 6-3 Curtis after four innings.
Rummel (23-10, 8-4) got a run back in the top of the fifth on a single to center by Cook, his third hit, and an RBI double to deep center by Evan Francioni to cut the deficit to 6-4. Francioni reached third on the throw home with just one out but Landreneau got Ball to pop out and struck out Beck to end the threat.
Rummel broke through against Landreneau in the top of the sixth as he hit LeBlanc and Dennies with pitches to start the inning. Rivera laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance both to second and third and Franklin ripped a two-run double to deep right, scoring both to tie the game 6-6.
It was only the fourth start of the season for Villa, who replaced Lacoste in the rotation.
As for Ball, he deserved a better fate, yielding only the unearned run in 3 1/3 innings pitched. Ball allowed four hits, walked two, hit two batters and struck out 10.
Landreneau fought through it in tough fashion to get the win, allowing six runs on seven hits, walking two and striking out four. Landreneau hit four batters and threw 94 pitches.
Davis reached base four times, stealing a base and scoring twice. Haensel had two hits and an RBI. Cook was 3-for-4 with the double and three RBI while Franklin was 2-for-2 with a double and two RBI to pace Rummel.
Raiders head coach Nick Monica was proud of his team’s effort.
“We competed hard from start to finish,” Monica said. “I am very proud of the effort. We just came up a little short. Give Curtis credit. They swung the bats very well and did not make any errors. Lyall threw the ball well and gave us a chance to come back. We need to take positives away from this going into the playoffs.”
Curtis will close the regular season Friday against Covenant Christian at 7 p.m. at Mike Miley Stadium while Rummel is done until the Division I playoffs. The Raiders will be either the fourth or fifth-seed.
“We knew we could come back,” Beloso said. “We compete hard. We believe we have a championship caliber team and will always compete in that fashion to try to win it all.”
AR 030 012 0 — 6 7 2, 5 LOB
JC 002 400 0 — 7 12 0, 14 LOB
WP–Ian Landreneau (6-1)
LP–Lyall Ball (2-1)
Time of Game: 2:44
Area Prep Baseball Report for Thursday, Apr. 20
Area Prep Baseball Results from Wednesday, Apr. 19
New Orleans Area
Country Day 4, Christian Life 3
John Curtis Christian 7, Archbishop Rummel 6
De La Salle 5, Riverdale 0
Destrehan 13, Lutcher 2
Warren Easton 10, Lake Area New Tech 0
East St. John 3, Central Lafourche 2
Grace King 18, Landry-Walker 5 (5 innings)
KIPP Renaissance 7, NOMMA 4
Newman 8, Pope John Paul II 2
Northlake Christian 10, Archbishop Shaw 3
Baton Rouge Area
Ascension Catholic 13, Kentwood 1
Brusly 14, Parkview Baptist 12
Dunham 21, McKinley 1
Holden 10, Slaughter Community Charter 4
Plaquemine 3, Vandebilt Catholic 2
Port Allen 9, Woodlawn (BR) 2
Riverside 8, Ascension Christian 7
St. John 10, Episcopal 0
University 3, West Feliciana 2
Zachary 10, Scotlandville 1
Assumption 3, Morgan City 1
Hahnville 19, Thibodaux 7
South Lafourche 5, South Terrebonne 0
Terrebonne 5, H.L. Bourgeois 3
E.D. White Catholic 3, Patterson 0
Area Prep Baseball Schedule for Thursday, Apr. 20
New Orleans Area
Bonnabel at Helen Cox, 5 p.m.
Brother Martin at Jesuit, 7 p.m. at John Ryan Stadium live at SportsNOLA.com
Carver at Lake Area New Tech, 4 p.m. at Joe Brown Park
East Jefferson at West Jefferson, 4 p.m.
Thomas Jefferson at Fisher, 5 p.m.
Lusher vs. De La Salle, 4:30 p.m. at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium
Mandeville at Covington, 6:30 p.m.
Pine at Archbishop Hannan, 5:30 p.m.:
Ponchatoula at Hammond, 6:30 p.m.
Riverdale vs. Ben Franklin, 7 p.m. at Mike Miley Stadium
Salmen at Lakeshore, 4 p.m.
Slidell at Northshore, 6:30 p.m.
South Plaquemines vs. Haynes, 5 p.m. at Bonnabel Stadium
St. Augustine at Holy Cross, 4 p.m. at Tiger Park
St. Charles Catholic vs. Country Day, 4 p.m. at Mike Miley Stadium
St. James vs. McMain, 4 p.m. at RBI Field at Wesley Barrow Stadium
St. Paul’s at Fontainebleau, 6:30 p.m.
Baton Rouge Area
Bogalusa at Independence, 5:30 p.m.
Broadmoor at Family Christian, 5 p.m.
Denham Springs at Scotlandville, 3:30 p.m.
Kentwood at Ascension Catholic, 3:30 p.m.
Live Oak at Central, 6:30 p.m.
McKinley at Catholic (BR), 4 p.m.
Port Allen at Christian Life, 4 p.m.
St. Amant at Dutchtown, 6 p.m.
St. John at East Iberville, 4 p.m.
St. Thomas Aquinas at Doyle, 6 p.m.
Tara at Plaquemine, 4 p.m.
Zachary at Walker, 6:30 p.m.
Berwick at North Vermilion, 4 p.m.
Morgan City at Assumption, 4 p.m.
South Terrebonne at South Lafourche, 6 p.m.
Vandebilt Catholic at Ellender, 4 p.m.