NEW ORLEANS — Brother Martin High School made sure there would be no East Ascension playoff upset this spring.
One season after East Ascension earned an improbable win during the first round of the Class 4A baseball playoffs, the 30th-seeded Spartans struggled Tuesday night against right-hander Tyler Zamjahn, whose mixture of fastballs, curveballs and change-ups out of the zone kept the Spartans off base.
Coupled with timely hits by Jarrett Gongora, Jacob Seward and others, third-seeded Brother Martin cruised to a 9-1 bi-district win in front of a packed crowd at Delgado’s Kirsch-Rooney Stadium.
“When you get to this one-game playoff and it’s a do-or-die situation, you can’t overlook anybody,” Brother Martin coach Mark Wisniewski said. “There’s a lot of good teams out there.”
East Ascension coach Mike Toups said he believes Brother Martin is the best hitting team in the state. Earlier this season, the Crusaders beat East Ascension, 16-1.
“You make a few mistakes, you allow a free pass, walk somebody and they’re going to eventually hurt you,” Toups said.
In 2012, East Ascension, seeded 30th, beat third-seeded Sam Houston, 7-4.
Wisniewski made sure the Crusaders didn’t think past East Ascension.
Brother Martin (29-5) jumped on East Ascension pitchers early, scoring runs in bunches with three apiece in the second, fourth and fifth innings. Starter Austin Lambert lasted 1 2⁄3 innings, although the rest of the Spartans pitching staff suffered the same outcome on a field still wet from recent rain.
“We hadn’t played in like a week, so we wanted to come out and start where we left off (in the regular season), put the pressure on them,” said Seward, who drove in runs in the second and fifth.
Greg Deichmann started to scoring in the first when he took advantage of one of East Ascension’s two errors, scoring from second on an errand throw. With two outs, Greg Deichmann’s single to right drove in two runs.
Lambert’’s single to left center in the fourth gave East Ascension its lone run.
“That was the only time I really felt like I got hit,” Zamjahn said of the fourth inning.
“When I was 0-1 with batters, I really had them off-balanced tonight. I need to stay 0-1 if I want to be more successful in the future.”
But in the bottom of the inning, Brother Martin’s Jacob Seward scored from third on a wild pitch. Cody Ducote followed three batters later with a triple to right center. Brother Martin led, 6-1.
“We just didn’t hit the ball early enough in the game,” Lambert said. “Didn’t throw enough strikes.
“They capitalized on our errors and we didn’t hit good enough.”