It was a warm night for a double header as the Pope John Paul II Knights took on the defending State champions the Christian Brothers Purple Wave.
The first game was a pitcher’s duel. The Knights starting Vanderbilt Commit -Mason Hickman (#9). Christian Brothers answered with their Ace Weston Bizzle (#14).
Christian Brothers started out with a leadoff single by Keagan Voss but Hickman pitched out of the inning without allowing a run.
Both pitchers managed to make it tough for opposing teams’ batters. The game remained scoreless until The top of the 4th when Tres Crittenden singled on a line drive to center. Cam Pleasant then laid down a sacrifice bunt fielded by Hickman for the out. Jarret Fowlkes reached on an error by the Knights second baseman which resulted in a run for Christian Brothers.
The Knights struck back in the bottom of the 5th with a leadoff single from Jordan Weems. Jack Shuttleworth stepped to the plate and laid down a textbook bunt in front of home plate.
Christian Brother’s catcher’s only option was to throw to first for the out.
It was then Grayson Lang’s turn to gain an RBI as he hit a line drive to right scoring Brooks and giving the Knights the lead.
Hickman then came on to strike out the side in both the sixth and seventh inning earning him the 2-1 win.
The duel resulted in 15 strikeouts with 8 for Hickman and 7 for Bizzle.
“I feel we matched up very well.” Head coach Chris Parker said when asked about the matchup between his Knights and Christian Brothers. “We battled the first game and got some timely hits. Mason overcame some things CB did to throw off his rhythm and was great at the end.”
Game 2 of the double header was all Christian Brothers. Jared Shemper was stellar on the mound as he pitched a one hit shutout as the Purple wave beat the Knights 6-0.
Christian Brothers struck early with a home run from Weston Bizzle in the first inning. They continued their offensive wave with five more runs in the second with a singles by Keagan Voss and Cam Pleasant and a double by Tres Crittenden.
“The Second game we got behind the 8 ball early and Shemper threw a great game as he owed us one as we really got to him in Memphis earlier this season we when beat ’em 7-1.” Coach Parker said.
The Knights used the opportunity to get some work for their pitchers. Dominick Pianto started the game and was relieved by his older brother Nate Pianto in the second. Also taking the mound were Bennie Ennis, Deuce Drennan, and Andrew Snyder.
Coach Parker gave some insight on his plan for the final game, “the plan going forward is to give it our all in this one-game winner-take-all game. We gotta do all the little things right and the big things will take care of themselves.”
The Knights will host the deciding game Friday, May 19, to determine who moves on to the state tournament.