CARY, N.C.—In its first game of the National High School Invitational, No. 2 Venice (Fla.) High took advantage of defensive miscues by Memphis’ Christian Brothers High to win 5-1 and advance to the quarterfinals. Venice will take on the winner of Cathedral Catholic High (San Diego) and Grayson High (Loganville, Ga.).
Venice got a strong start out of righthander Brandon Elmy, who went five innings and struck out eight while allowing just one run on one hit and one walk.
“Brandon is a competitor,” head coach Craig Faulkner said. “Not a lot bothers. He didn’t have his good stuff today. He’s usually really sharp with his slider and his curveball. He has a really good changeup, but today didn’t really have his offspeed. Probably the difference between playing in Florida and here. It was an adjustment for him, but he battled for five innings and kept us in the game the whole time.”
Christian Brothers got on the board first in the third inning with a squeeze play, but that’s all the Purple Wave would scratch out. The Indians answered in the bottom of the third, tying the game up on an error by shortstop Michael Halley and then followed with two more runs on an error and single from catcher Michael Rivera. Both teams traded zeros until the sixth when Venice added some insurance runs. With two outs and the bases loaded, outfielder Danny Raynor hit a single down the left field line that scored two runs.
“It was nice to get some help from Danny Raynor in the nine hole coming up with the single scoring two runs at the end there,” Faulkner said.
Christian Brothers had six errors on the game and Purple Wave pitchers didn’t give up an earned run. Junior righthander John Wesley Ray went five innings for Christian Brothers, allowing three unearned runs on four hits. A Mississippi recruit, he struck out five and walked two.
“We didn’t play very good defensively,” Christian Brothers head coach Buster Kelso said. “We didn’t put much pressure on them as far as making the plays.
“(Ray) wasn’t at his best, not taking anything away from Venice. His velocity wasn’t where it has been in the past. I told him we were going to go with his offspeed stuff and gut it through. He pitched well enough to win.”