METAIRIE (WGNO) — Bryce Pitts struck out Byrd’s pitcher (and best hitter) Kevin Robinson three times throughout a 7-strikeout affair with excellent defensive play behind him in the Blue Jays’ 3-1 quarterfinal win on Friday night at John Ryan Stadium.

Jesuit’s Hunter Oufnac shined at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a single in the third inning that allowed Everett Denny to score on an error that made it 2-0; and Oufnac smacked an RBI triple that went all the way to the warning track to score Denny again in the fifth for a 3-1 lead and the eventual final run.

Among a plethora of great fielding plays by both teams, Pitts said there was none more crucial than Jake Moreci’s catch to end the top of the fifth.

Down 2-1 at that point, the Yellow Jackets had runners on second and third when Byrd cleanup hitter Brooks Brossette hit a line drive that seemed like a base hit all the way to Moreci’s glove. The Blue Jays’ shortstop pulled some magic on that catch and ran to the dugout like it was just another day on the job, and the Blue Jays maintained a one-run lead that Oufnac would increase to two in the next frame.

“Mentality-wise I was letting the defense play today,” Pitts told WGNO. “I usually like to strikeout everybody, but sometimes you can’t. You got to let the defense play which they did today. The line drive to Jake Moreci right there with runners on second and third. That could have changed the whole game. Him catching that was a game changer.”

“Defensively, like I said before, [Bryce] trusts his defense and makes pitches, and that’s all we asked him to do. Fill up the zone. Let us play defense behind you, and he’s been doing a great job, not just tonight, but all season long with that,” Jesuit head coach Kenny Goodlett said.

The Blue Jays and Yellow Jackets will play Game 2 on Saturday at noon at John Ryan Stadium, and the if- necessary Game 3 will follow.

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