At the beginning of the season, East Ascension was falling short in many one-run games due to their inability to make plays when the opportunities presented themselves.

At the beginning of the season, East Ascension was falling short in many one-run games due to their inability to make plays when the opportunities presented themselves.

That's not the case now midway through the season. That was made painfully clear to the expense of parish rival Dutchtown on Thursday night, as the Spartans came up with big hit after big hit with runners in scoring position.

The result was an impressive 6-2 district-opening victory for East Ascension.

"Our guys did an awesome job of when we had runners in scoring position with two outs, we came up with the hits tonight. It's not always that way, but the key for us tonight were the two-out RBIs in key situations," Spartan head coach Kade Keowen said.

Both pitchers got off to amazing starts in the first inning. East Ascension's Blaise Foote and Dutchtown's Will Reed combined to strike out five of the six batters they faced in the frame.

In the second, the hitters caught up.

Dalton Barbier led off the top of the second for Dutchtown with a single. Later, Trey Martin drew a two-outs walk.

Barbier was then able to score on a fielding error by East Ascension to give them a 1-0 lead.

The Spartans responded in the bottom of the second.

Grant Griffin drew a leadoff walk, and Foote sent him home on a triple. Another run eventually scored on a sac grounder to give East Ascension a 2-1 advantage.

In the top of the third, Dutchtown loaded the bases with a walk by Cohen Parent and singles by Reed and Brayden Caskey.

One run scored when East Ascension attempted to pick a runner off at second. It tied the game, but the Griffins left two men stranded.

In the fourth, Martin reached base on a fielder's choice and Landon Manson singled. Again, both players could not be sent home.

But East Ascension took advantage of their chances.

In the bottom of the inning, Foote singled, and Garrett Leeper sent a run home with a double. It gave the Spartans a 3-2 lead.

In the fifth, Kael Babin came up with a bunt single, and he reached second following a throwing error. Babin later scored on an RBI double by Beau Landry that pushed the East Ascension advantage to 4-2.

In the sixth, the Spartans put the game away. Two extra-base hits allowed them to scratch two more runs in what became a 6-2 victory.

"It's huge for our guys," Keowen said. "We got off to a bad start. We've now won eight of nine. This is a huge confidence boost against a really good Dutchtown team. Hats off to those guys. Coach (Chris) Schexnaydre always does an awesome job with them, and Will Reed pitched his tail off for those guys."

As good as Reed was for Dutchtown, Foote was even better. He pitched a complete game in which he gave up six hits and just one earned run. He struck out eight batters.

And from the plate, he went 2-3 with an RBI. He was the only player for either team with multiple hits.

Leeper and Landry were both 1-3 with an RBI apiece.

In defeat, Parent went 1-2 with two walks. Caskey, Barbier, Reed, Manson and Carter Landry all went 1-3.

After starting the year in a 3-10 hole, the win evened East Ascension's record at 11-11, with a run of eight victories in nine games.

"Our guys are experienced now," Keowen said. "At the start of the season, even though we had some upperclassmen, they were inexperienced. Now, we have 22 games under our belt, and they've really bought into not just our hitting philosophy, but what we do on defense. Obviously, our pitching has been great as well. If you go out there and throw strikes, we give ourselves a chance."