LAND O'LAKES - Jesuit coach John Crumbley thought Land O'Lakes' bats would make Wednesday's game one of his team's toughest challenges this season.
His son J.J. did his best to prove otherwise.
Crumbley pitched a one-hit shutout, striking out 12 Gators to improve to 6-0 and keep Jesuit unbeaten with a 4-0 win.
"I've had under-average starts so far this year, so this was by far my best one," said J.J. Crumbley, who faced two batters more than the minimum in improving Jesuit to 13-0. "The scouting report said they had a lot of sophomores who could mash, so my dad told me I had to bring my A-game."
Land O'Lakes (10-5) came in with three regulars batting over .400, including sophomores Caz Piurowski and Ricky Howroyd, who have combined for eight home runs and 40-plus RBIs. But the Gators, who lost 2-1 to Ridgewood on Tuesday, mustered one infield single, in the fifth inning from David Veale. The offensive woes spoiled a solid start from Jonathan Zunz (4-2), who held Jesuit to two runs before giving up four hits in the final two innings.
"It should have been a 1-0 game, but we gift-wrapped them three runs," Gators coach Calvin Baisley said. "And the one opportunity we had, we couldn't take advantage of."
Aside from Veale's single, the Gators' only other baserunners came in the third, when Crumbley hit Ross Hughes on the helmet and issued his only walk to Eli Jones. A passed ball put runners at second and third with no outs, but Crumbley struck out the side, part of a run of six consecutive outs recorded by strikeout.
"That was his best command, I think," his father said. "He hit some really good spots in big situations tonight."
Two of Jesuit's four runs came off the bat of outfielder Brant McKown, who hit a bases-loaded groundout in the first and a run-scoring single in the sixth to score Chris Swauger, who had doubled. Swauger had a sacrifice fly in the third to score Crumbley, who brought in the final run with a run-scoring single in the seventh.
Baisley said this season's Tigers are undefeated but aren't not as good as other Jesuit teams he has faced in 20 years against Crumbley.
"They're good, don't get me wrong, but they've had national championship teams with two or three pitchers who were first-round draft picks," he said. "It's a good team, but I wouldn't say it's one of their better ones."