It was not too long ago that the Saint Louis baseball team was ranked No. 1 in the state.
The Crusaders had rattled off six consecutive wins, including an impressive 4-1 victory over Mid-Pacific, and was on top of the ILH halfway through the regular season.
Now, the Crusaders are forced to play the waiting game and may have taken the field for the final time on Tuesday in a 6-4 loss to ‘Iolani in the ILH second-round tournament.
Saint Louis avoided the play-in game finishing second in the ILH regular season to the Owls, but is two-and-done in the double-elimination tournament after scoring six total runs in losses to Punahou and ‘Iolani.
Unless Mid-Pacific wins its next three games to win the tournament, the Crusaders’ season will come to a bittersweet end.
“It’s very unfortunate because this group of guys has worked really hard for a really long time and understand the process,” said Saint Louis coach George Gusman, who led the Crusaders to a state championship just two years ago. “They just have nothing to show for it and it’s very sad for them because our season could end on Friday.”
Saint Louis was never blown out. Its four losses were by a total of eight runs and the only game decided by more than two runs was a 4-1 loss to Mid-Pacific that went nine innings.
The difference in each game was an offense that was held to five runs total in those four games and shut out twice.
On Tuesday, Saint Louis came out swinging, jumping on the Raiders for four runs in the first inning. Saint Louis got four hits in the first frame but managed just four more the rest of the game. After John Kea‘s two-out RBI single in the first inning put the Crusaders up 4-1, Saint Louis went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position the rest of the game.
“We had opportunties all season we just squandered,” Gusman said. “We’d get good pitching and then couldn’t hit. It was just a little bit here and a little bit there.”
Saint Louis was a perfect 3-0 against both Punahou and ‘Iolani in the regular season but couldn’t beat either team come playoff time. Now, the Crusaders must cheer for the Owls to win the next three games they play to force a playoff for the ILH’s second state berth between Saint Louis and Punahou.