Show of character: No. 6 War Eagles push past Christian Life in Class 1A first round playoff

St. John's Trevor Curry beats out a grounder to first base ahead of the throw to Christian Life's Jacob Alford in the first inning of the Eagles' 2-1 Class 1A bi-district playoff victory on Thursday evening. 
POST SOUTH PHOTO/Peter Silas Pasqua

PLAQUEMINE – No. 6 seed St. John the Evangelist High School scored the go ahead run in the fourth inning to claim a 2-1 Class 1A bi-district playoff victory over 27th seeded Christian Life on Thursday evening at Eagle Field.

The War Eagles (27-6), under coach Heath Whittington, advanced to the regionals where they hosted 11th seeded St. Frederick on Tuesday and won 4-3. St. John moves on to travel to No. 14 Westminster Christian, a 13-6 winner over No. 3 Opelousas Catholic on Saturday at 4 p.m.

"We did what we had to do to win and it was a good test early in the playoffs," Whittington said. "It was good show of character that we played through it. Their record is deceiving and I knew the kid on the mound was good.

"They got the bases loaded or had runners in scoring position three innings in a row but we played out of it. We made some errors early but they weren't costly. That is what you have to do. Get over it and move on."

Hunter Schnebelen (8-1) earned the win for St. John allowing three hits over five innings while striking out three and walking seven. Morgan Booksh picked up the save in two innings of relief striking out two.

Brandon Noel was 2-for-2 at the plate with two stolen bases and a run. Rene Ledet was 1-for-2 and Jacob Caballero (RBI) and Trevor Curry were each 1-for-3. Colby Landry scored a run and had a stolen base and Jacob Maranto had a RBI.

Mike Stinson took the loss for Christian Life (13-16) allowing five hits over six innings while striking out seven and walking three.

"We knew coming into the game, our shot was with the guy on the mound and he pitched unreal," Christian Life coach Mark Cascio said. "We played above and beyond what we could have asked for."

The Crusaders loaded the bases in the bottom of the first but came up empty when shortstop Curry snagged a liner. Curry beat out a grounder in the bottom half and Caballero lined through the infield to put runners on the corners but St. John also failed to score.

Landry drew a leadoff walk in the third and advanced to third after stealing second before scoring on Caballero's groundout to put the Eagles ahead 1-0.

Christian Life quickly answered in the fourth when Jason Harris lined through the left infield and scored on an error. First baseman Seth Gulotta caught a pop up just in front of the dugout to leave the bases loaded.

The Eagles regained the lead in the bottom half when Noel beat out a grounder and stole second and third before scoring on a pass ball.

Booksh retired the Crusaders in order in the final two innings striking out two in the seventh.

St. John scored the go ahead run in the bottom of the fifth inning on Tuesday after St. Frederick tied it 3-3 in the top half. The War Eagles jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first before the Warriors tallied two in the third but St. John quickly answered in the bottom half to go back ahead 3-2.

Booksh (1-1) earned the win in two innings relief of Schnebelen. Gulotta (two RBIs) and Curry (RBI) were each 1-for-2 and Christopher Patin was 1-for-3.