NEW ORLEANS – In the second of two key early Catholic League baseball matchups, Will Moran led Jesuit from the mound and at the plate in the Blue Jays’ 14-1 rout of Brother Martin on Thursday night at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium.
The result came only two days after Jesuit edged Brother Martin 2-1 in a defensive battle.
The Blue Jays improved to 13-5 overall and 2-0 in district play and play at John Curtis on Saturday. The Crusaders, 15-4 overall and 0-2 in league play, face St. Augustine on Saturday.
A lot of teams rest their starting pitcher and give him a break at the plate with a designated hitter but such was not the case with Moran on Thursday. He enjoys the top spot in the lineup at the plate, just as much as pitching.
“I love getting up to the plate and helping the team out. It’s a great team with great chemistry in the dugout. It’s a lot of fun,” said Moran.
Moran, as the first batter in the top of the first inning, ripped a double over the head of Brother Martin third baseman Brennan Stuprich and past left fielder Blaine Starring. Moran advanced to third on a single from Seth Dardar before scoring on a sacrifice fly by Brian Validosky.
The Blue Jays maintained a 1-0 lead until busting loose in the third inning, taking advantage of hot hitting and a flurry of uncharacteristic infield errors committed by Brother Martin.
Will Hellmers’ single, Zack Casebonne’s run-scoring double and Validosky’s single started the momentum in the top of the third. An error and a walk later, the Crusaders had given up four runs, trailing 5-0 going to the bottom of the third inning.
Meanwhile, Moran only faced 10 batters through three innings, giving up only one hit – a leadoff single by Crusaders first baseman Joe Delaney – and a walk, with one strikeout.
“I tried to move the ball around the plate, and let my guys play good defense. It’s always good when the weight is off your shoulders (pitching with a big lead), and you have run support and the bats are rolling,” said Moran.
Then came what proved to be a long fourth for Brother Martin as a 31-minute half inning featured 13 hitters at the plate and two pitching changes for Brother Martin.
Moran and Dardar each had singles and Hellmers reached base on an error. Three more walks, two batters hit by a pitch, and an error later, Hellmers concluded the inning’s scores with another single, giving the Blue Jays seven runs in the inning and a commanding 12-0 lead.
Moran stayed solid on the mound in the bottom of the fourth, only giving up one hit.
Tripp Haddad and Luke Eccles each had singles and drove in a run in the top of the fifth inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, a walk, followed by singles from Crusaders hitters Cole Stromboe and Jake Dickinson resulted in their one and only run. It was only Moran’s second walk of the night.
Defensively, Jesuit was sharp all night as well. Catcher Zack Casebonne threw out Crusader baserunner Brady Foust attempting to steal to second base in the first inning. Luke Eccles, the center fielders, showed his speed and ability to run down a deep ball in the second inning.
The Blue Jays improve to 13-5 (2-0), and will play at John Curtis on March 23. The Crusaders are now 15-4 (0-2). Their next game is also March 23, against St. Augustine.