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Crusaders shut down Skyhawks in seventh stanza

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Jesuit's Christian Martinek worked six scoreless innings against Southridge on Tuesday to help the Crusaders take down the Skyhawks, 3-2.

Southridge’s orchestrated seventh-inning comeback just about overthrew the ballyhooed Jesuit Crusaders.

When Skyhawk third baseman Parker Stidham stunned a Donovan Baldocchi fastball off the netting in left field, scoring two runs to cut a 3-0 deficit to just one, it looked as though Southridge was going to stupefy the third-ranked team in the state.

Be that as it may, there were two outs on the board when Stidham almost went yard, and Jesuit starter Christian Martinek had already blanked Southridge with six innings of sound work on the hill. The right-handed Baldocchi was able to calm himself after a mound visit from head coach Tim Massey and blew three fastballs by Skyhawk third baseman Grant Giraldi to seal the 3-2 win for Jesuit.

“We’re a team that has each other’s back,” said Jesuit first baseman Colton French. “When stuff like (the seventh inning) happens, that’s baseball. You just have to fight through it. We have a lot of confidence in Donovan when he’s on the mound. We just kept pushing forward and got that last out.”

“In the seventh we just had a ton of energy,” said Southridge junior catcher Cameron Nowack. “We had a lot more energy than we did the whole game, and that’s what got us two runs and through the last inning.”

Stidham and Martinek kept the contest scoreless until the bottom of the fourth, when Jesuit’s left-handed Marco Albanese roped a pitch down the leftfield line, and slid hard into second baseman Alex Beekman’s glove to knock the ball loose.

After Ken Carlson was hit by a pitch, French flogged a double to deep left — off the same leftfield webbing Stidham would later stick — to give Jesuit a 1-0 jump.

“I was really trying to be aggressive on that play,” said Albanese. “We needed to get going, and still hadn’t gotten many hits at that point. I was glad to get that and kind of rally the team up, get a big inning going. And, it was a great job by (French) to get me in.”

Ahead 2-0 in the count, French said Stidham threw a fastball on the inner half of the dish that he turned on and popped off the fence in left.

“That kind of settled us down,” said French. “Over the past couple weeks I’ve been out in front of a lot of balls, so I just focused on staying back. I knew we had to get something going. At the start of the year I was hitting well, then I had a little bit of a hiccup in the middle of the season. But, it’s good to be back on the right track going into the rest of Metro.”

With still just one out on the board and Carlson on third, shortstop Tommy Kaempf put down a seeing-eye suicide squeeze bunt in front of Stidham on the mound.

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Southridge's Parker Stidham pitched four and two-thirds innings against Jesuit and had a two-run double in the seventh inning.

Carlson careened home and touched the plate, which in turn forced the Skyhawk righty to go to first for the sure out.

Jesuit chased Stidham in the fifth with one out, then loaded the bases versus Matthew Orcutt and scored its third run on an Albanese sacrifice fly, 3-0.

“Once you get a 3-0 lead for Christian, he’s automatic,” said Albanese. “It always feels good to get the lead early.”

Up until the last inning, Stidham said Southridge was monotonous with its energy, specifically when it came to matching Martinek on the mound. Surely, the Skyhawks got on the comeback trail, and made a heck of an effort putting a scare into Jesuit.

But, Stidham alleged Martinek beat down Southridge more psychologically than with his powerful left arm.

“We were at the game, we were present, but it wasn’t like we were in wanting to win,” said Stidham. “We came out of (batting practice) and it was like we were already folded because we thought ‘Oh, Martinek’s on the mound. He’s going to blow right past us.’ You can’t go through a ballgame like that.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Southridges Sam Rzepecki puts down a slap tag on Jesuits Ken Carlson for an out on Tuesday.

Southridge started to build its confidence back up after a pair of base knocks off Martinek in the sixth, and the swagger escalated once the Oregon State commit was pulled for Baldocchi.

Senior Andrew Walker walked with two outs in the seventh, and David Knudsen singled to set up Stidham’s smack to left.

“We were like, ‘Alright, now’s the time to load up and get some base hits and get some runs on the board,” said Stidham. “We know every team is beatable. We have to have energy for the whole game, from inning one to inning seven.”

“The pitching was faster than we’ve seen all year, but I thought we battled the whole game,” said Nowack. “We started getting some momentum and bringing ‘em around.”




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