Led by Michael Kirsch who went 2-3 and hit a home run, Brother Martin took game one with a 5-2 victory over Byrd on Friday at Kirsch-Rooney.
Blair Frederick’s seven strikeouts helped the Crusaders secure victory. Frederick allowed one earned run on four hits and two walks in the complete game win.
Brother Martin captured a one run lead in the second inning off a home run by shortstop Michael Kirsch, his first hit of the night, that lifted the spirits of the Crusader faithful. The Crusaders scored another run in the fourth inning, two in the fifth and one more in the sixth. In the fourth, Brother Martin scored on a groundout by Joel Bergeron, plating Kevin Stretzinger. An error scored Scott Corrente for the fifth inning’s first run.
Two runs in the top of the seventh helped Byrd close its deficit to 5-2, but Frederick was able to outlast the Jacket surge and retire the side for the Friday night win.
On a sunny Saturday afternoon, the Crusaders were one game away from heading to Sulphur, LA. The bottom of the first saw Byrd take an early lead, 2-0. Brother Martin answered back with two runs of their own in the top of the fourth, but Byrd shut down any momentum with a two-run bottom of the fourth to regain the lead 4-2.
The fifth spelled defeat for Byrd, as the Crusaders grabbed the lead for good. All with two outs, Brother Martin scored four runs and took over the game. The Crusaders went up for good on an RBI double by Jonathan Parker scoring Grant Nicolosi.
Luke Bernard entered the game in relief of Keagan Gillies and shut down in their final three innings. Byrd managed just two hits off of Bernard, who allowed no earned runs, walked none and struck out one during his three innings of work to lock up the 6-4 win for the Crusaders.
With the win, Brother Martin heads to the Sulphur, LA for the semifinals. The Crusaders will face fellow Brothers of the Sacred Heart school Catholic High on Friday, May 15th at McMurry Park. First pitch is set for 4:00 pm.