The Saint Louis Crusaders endured cold temperatures, rain and wind in Las Vegas, but returned home better for the effort.
Saint Louis, ranked No. 3 in the Star-Advertiser Baseball Top 10, posted a 2-1 win over host Bishop Gorman at the inaugural All-Catholic Classic this week. The Crusaders went 1-3, losing to St. Rita (Ill.) 6-3, Juan Diego (Utah) 7-6 and nationally-ranked St. Laurence (Ill.) 6-4.
Bishop Gorman reached the finals, losing to De La Salle (Calif.).
“We pitched well. We hit well. We didn’t play good defense,” Saint Louis coach George Gusman said. “We had 14 errors in four games. If we play defense, we might play in the finals.”
The game against Juan Diego on Tuesday was especially unusual. The game was halted during the second inning due to extreme wind and rain. It resumed on Wednesday.
“It was in the mid-50s. I’ve (refereed) a lot of football games in the cold, but that’s when I’m prepared with gloves and everything,” said Gusman, who officiates Big 12 Conference games.
Saint Louis (18-8 overall) flew back home on Friday and has an ILH playoff game with Pac-Five today. The experience of playing in a desert against a variety of powerhouse programs from across the country is unique.
“They were tall and bigger, but we were still able to compete. We got everyone some exposure, so it was a great success,” Gusman said.
The tournament could expand to 16 teams next season. Gusman said there is talk of televising some of the ACC games nationally.
“This is not something we’ll do every year. It’s expensive. Maybe every two years. Bishop Gorman did a great job,” he said.