New Orleans saw its shutout streak come to an end, but the Boosters did enough in Tuesday's 7-3 victory over New York City at Roxbury Park to keep their main goals within reach.
They won Pool D with a 3-0 mark and outscored the competition 18-3 along the way. More important is the fact that the Boosters are still in position to win the tournament.
“That's what we're here for,” New Orleans manager Darrin Dares said. “We just want to get through pool play. We did it the best we could, winning all three, and I think we're ready to go for the next three.”
Three more victories would give the Boosters their 14th national title. The way they have been pitching and playing defense, that doesn't look too far-fetched.
“They have very good pitching, and they're a very good team. I give them a lot of respect,” said New York manager Rico Pena, whose D.B. Hawks were eliminated with a 1-2 record.
The Boosters posted back-to-back shutouts in a seven-inning doubleheader on Tuesday. Starter Cole Martin extended the scoreless streak to 18 1/3 innings on Wednesday before New York broke through with a pair of runs.
“I'm a perfectionist, so I don't every want to give up a run, but I can't let it get to me,” Martin said. “I just kept going.”
The 18-year-old left-hander gave up two runs on five hits and three walks in six innings. He struck out four.
“Cole Martin was great on the mound,” Dares said. “He kept them at bay. He had one rough inning, but he battled through it, limited them to two runs.”
Martin got some strong play behind him. The Boosters didn't commit any errors and made two very nice plays in the field. First baseman Chip Bonura made a diving catch on a line drive hit by Reynoldo Guillen for the first out of the game, and shortstop Justin Nussbaum came up with a sliding stop on a ground ball and was able to recover in time to throw out Anthony Nocero leading off the fourth inning.
“Pitchers have had good tempo, so they've been in the game and they've made good plays,” Dares said of his defenders. “You saw two good plays, and they made a couple of really good plays yesterday. The defense has been there. Let's hope it stays there.”
Mason Mayfield gave up a run in two innings while Kyle Flettrich pitched a scoreless ninth to close out the victory.
No. 9 hitter Noah Fontenot got the New Orleans offense going with a two-out single that brought home two runs in the fourth. Nussbaum followed with a two-run double that made it 4-0.
“We still have to get a little bit better with the bats,” Dares said. “We had some better clutch hitting today, but it took us a while to get going.”
Grant Matthews had three hits, including an RBI double in the eighth for New Orleans.
Francisco Ogando homered and doubled for New York. Guillen and Nocero had RBI singles.
New York starter Jose Nunez took the loss, giving up four hits on four runs and four walks in four innings. He struck out three. Reliever Anyelo Rosario faced five hitters and didn't get an out in the fifth, but Jorge Castro limited the damage to two runs in the inning. Castro gave up just one run in five innings of relief.
“We did much better than the previous two games,” Pena said. “I'm very proud. The kids bounced back. We didn't play well yesterday. Even though we lost, we played well.”