Jesuit roars back in seventh vs. Sherwood

Their talent and intent to battle are detectable.

Teams don't comeback from 9-1 deficits with two outs in the seventh inning unless they have the better part of both.

So, while the Jesuit OIBA summer squad's last-gasp rally against Sherwood ultimately came up shy in a 9-7 defeat, the developing Crusaders walked away feeling fairly victorious on Thursday.

After Alex Anderson hustled out an infield single and effectively chased Sherwood starter Riley Moore from the game with two outs on the board in the seventh, Jesuit plowed through the Bowmen bullpen.

With the bases loaded, Chris Arpen notched an RBI single and Derek Sheckler followed with a two-RBI base hit to center to cut the deficit to 9-4. Third baseman Tommy Kaempf came through again with an RBI single, and Trent Werner poured gas on the two-out fire by driving in two with a double to the TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Jesuit starting pitcher Ken Carlson is one of the all-league veteran Crusaders coming back this summer.

But, just when Jesuit's bats looked like they were going to accomplish the unthinkable and complete the improbable two-out rally, Sherwood regrouped. Bowmen head coach Jon Strohmaier handed the ball to his lights-out closer Jake Reimer who got Jesuit's Paul Wyatt to ground out to Travis Kotowski at first for the final out.

“It shows that we can hit a little and we're not afraid to fight if we have to,” said Werner. “We might be down seven runs, but we're not going to give up, and that's good going into the rest of the summer.”

Jesuit extended the contest as far as it could and proved it's not against swallowing its pride and getting grimy in the name of a retaliation. Last season's squad, which bowed out of the 6A state playoffs, was forced to fight off the ropes on many occasions, including falling behind against Hillsboro in the first round. It appears that senior class has set a precedent for a “never say die” attitude throughout the program.

“We came out slow with the bats and pitching, but at the end of the game, we definitely showed we have some fight in us,” said outfielder Colton French, who had an RBI groundout in the second. “This is a team that never gives up. During the season we came back in a lot of games and won them. Games like this makes us realize you can never give up.”by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Jesuit junior Colton French knocked in a run with an infield single in the first inning of the Crusaders loss to Sherwood.

Blister the ball

Evan Haberle continued to blister the baseball at the dish, collecting three singles and scoring a run in the seventh. Haberle — who's looking to back his first-team all-state junior season with a lively summer — also kept Jesuit in the game on the mound by pitching three quality innings.

The rising senior said he was glad to see Jesuit hang around and go down swinging rather than brush off the game as just another summer affair. It speaks to what the Crusaders could eventually become, but the lefty hopes Jesuit doesn't always pin their hopes on making 11th-hour rallies. That focus has to be there from the first inning to the seventh, Haberle said.

Jesuit loaded the bags in the third, but Marco Albanese's monster fly ball to the warning track was hauled in by Bowmen centerfielder Keegan Lawrence for the last out of the stanza. Moore proceeded to retire the next 10 Crusaders in succession.

“We have some young guys and we're trying to compete but we have to be better than that,” said Haberle. “We can't have a comeback in the seventh inning. We're getting there, but we have to put it together better.”

Sherwood went off on Jesuit early, scoring nine runs on six hits but the Crusaders' defense prevented the game from ending early in five innings. Haberle robbed Reimer with a spinning stab at third and gunned the Bowmen senior out at first in the third. Werner turned a double play and Kaempf tipped over another Sherwood scoring threat but flipping an unassisted twin killing at the hot corner.

“I take pride in my defense,” said Kaempf. “That comes first and then I think about hitting. I felt real comfortable. I was trying to help the pitchers make the plays I could make. The balls came to me, and I made them. We picked up our pitchers as the game went along.”

New faces on the roster

If the names on Jesuit's OIBA roster seem a little foreign to you, you're not alone.

Jesuit's roster is going through somewhat of an upheaval this summer. Head coach Tim Massey is plugging new players into different spots, and trying to decipher what mixes of players work best together. Werner, Haberle, French and Ken Carlson carry all-league. And in Haberle's case, all-state awards. They're easing the growing pains and offering stability for the fresh-faced Crusaders.

“This last year we had a lot of guys moving around in the infield and the outfield, and there wasn't a real set team,” said French. “But I feel this year we're going to have a lot of guys who are everyday players and are completely buying into the team.”

French — a second-team all-Metro pitcher as a sophomore — said he's working on visualization on the mound and becoming more consistent at the plate with his mental approach.

“That's what's been getting me the last couple weeks, so I just need to be more consistent at the plate,” said French. “It's always fun to get awards like that. It's really humbling, but I just need to get bigger, faster, stronger and play the game.”

Kaempf, who can play each infield spot, wants to prove he can be a constant varsity contributor. Anderson and Sheckler have matching mindsets to show they have the skills to maintain Jesuit's tradition.

“I just have to keep working, and things will work out,” said Kaempf. “When I get my opportunities, I have to take them and just get more comfortable at the plate and in the field.”

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