Rummel jumped out to a 4-0 lead but had to hold off a seventh-inning rally by top-seeded Catholic of Baton Rouge for a 4-3 triumph over the Bears on Sunday in Lake Charles in the Division I semifinals.
The victory for fourth-seed Rummel sends the Raiders to the state championship game at 3 p.m. Tuesday against No. 3 St. Paul’s of Covington. Like Rummel, St. Paul’s jumped out to an early lead and had to survive a dramatic seventh inning to edge No. 2 seed Brother Martin 4-3.
Rummel (22-12) grabbed the early lead against Catholic High with a run in the top of the first inning. Lance Johnson led off with a single and advanced to second and third on a pair of passed balls before scoring on a single by Kade Rivera.
A single Logan Bertucci and a walk Johnson issued by Catholic High pitcher set the stage for Rivera once again. This time he delivered a two-run double to center to extend Rummel’s lead to 3-0.
“I thought our approach at the plate was good, for the most part,” Monica said. “(Nicholas) Judice is a hard thrower and he gets a lot of punchout on guys throwing out of the zone. We had the discipline at the plate to not chase the ball up and making him being in the zone and giving us a chance,” Rummel coach Nick Monica said of the Catholic High pitcher.
Rummel added its final run in the fifth inning.
Following a base hit by Kyle Walker, he was on the move to third base on a hit-and-run by Chandler Fields. The hit by Fields rolled down the third-base line, with a throw to first base by Tyler Wilson, the Catholic High third baseman, trying to get Fields out at first base was late. An errant throw back to third base by Mason Zambo, the Bears’ first baseman, allowed Walker to score.
Matthew Lee got the Bears’ first hit of the game off of Rummel pitcher Jackson Dennies with a single to open the bottom of the sixth inning.
Catholic High (26-11) almost produced a dramatic rally in the bottom of the seven inning, scoring three runs.
Consecutive hits by Eric Hebert and Kason Cullins started the rally before Dennies struck out the next two batters.
Dennies then walked Matthew Lee to load the bases before Addison Ainsworth followed with a run-scoring single to make it 4-1.
Zach Ordeneaux delivered a two-run single to make it 4-3 but Dennies got out of the jam when he got Mason Zambo to ground out to first base to end the game.
“It was the fourth time through the lineup and once they saw him enough, they got a better feel for him and they were able to score in the last inning. The big thing was we were still finding a way to make pitches and enough plays to survive,” said Monica, referring to Dennies.
Dennis ended up allowing three runs on five hits and three walks while striking out five.
Judice allowed three runs on five hits while walking four and striking out three in four innings. Brock Perry pitched the final three innings for Catholic High, allowing one run on three hits.