John Curtis senior Andrew Martinez drove in three runs and senior Josh Eames pitched five shutout innings as the Patriots defeated Holy Cross 8-1 in the opener of a District 9-5A series Thursday at Holy Cross Park.
Martinez singled in a run in the third inning and drove in two more runs with another single as Curtis scored four runs in the fourth. He reached base three times, drawing a walk in the first inning.
In the field at first base, Martinez made an impressive backhanded pick of a ball that bounced in the dirt for an out.
His effort in the field helped Eames as he allowed only two hits with one walk and five strikeouts over five innings. Reliever Bryce Hebert allowed an unearned run after another player made a fielding error.
“He moves well,” Curtis coach Jeff Curtis said about the play of Martinez in the field. “That’s why he’s going to be an offensive lineman at the collegiate level (at UL), because he moves well like that. You can’t also coach 6-foot-4, so if one happens to get high on him, he’s got the ability to go up and get it for us.”
Also from Curtis, Mississippi State-signed senior Michael O’Brien hit an RBI triple in the seventh inning and scored three runs. He reached on a single in the first inning and walked in the fourth.
Austin Ackel and Reed Duthu each drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. Ackel drove in O’Brien in the first inning and Duthu drove in Connor Micheu, a courtesy runner for Eames after he reached on a walk, in the fourth.
Curtis (13-6-1, 3-2 District 9-5A) has won 10 of its past 12 games, including three in row since the Patriots began district play with two losses against first-place Brother Martin.
“We’re building,” said Eames, a Delgado commitment who plays catcher when he does not pitch. “We talked about this at our very first practice, getting 1% better every day. There’s about 100 days in a baseball season. We keep getting 1% better every single day. I think we’re doing a really good job of that, just improving every single day at practice.”
Three Holy Cross pitchers combined for seven walks and two hit batters. Denny Trosclair singled and scored for Holy Cross (11-11-1, 3-4) in the seventh inning.
“We have a talented young ballclub that is learning how to compete,” coach Aaron Barras said. “We’re going to continue to learn and grow and teach. The expectation of the program is to give everything you got.”
Curtis and Holy Cross will play a second game noon Saturday at Mike Miley Stadium.