For the third straight season, Ascension Catholic is headed to Sulphur for the state tournament.
The defending Division-IV state champs pulled off a quarterfinal sweep of seventh-seeded Cedar Creek at home on Friday evening to get one step closer to winning back-to-back titles.
It took the Bulldogs an extra inning to slide past Cedar Creek on Thursday night, but come Friday, no late-game heroics were needed. Ascension Catholic was dialed in from the opening pitch as they trounced the Cougars, 13-0, in five innings.
“Last night was an emotional battle. It was hard-fought on both sides,” Bulldog head coach Todd Landry said. “We didn’t play very well. We made six errors, and they made some too, but there were two good pitchers that were battling.
“What happened today was not indicative of how good that team is. That kid that threw today is a very good pitcher. It was just our day. Our kids played very well, and Hunter (Walker) threw a really good game. My hat’s off to Cedar Creek. They had a really good team. They gave us a test last night. I’m just really proud of these guys.”
The Ascension Catholic bats were hot at the start of game two on Friday. Leadoff hitter Jacob Dunn got things started with a double.
Mason Zeringue then walked and William Dunn reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases.
Jacob Dunn was then driven home by a Rodney Blanchard single, and Zeringue scored on a throwing error.
William Dunn and Blanchard were later brought home by Brock Acosta as he belted a double. His hit gave the Bulldogs a 4-0 lead.
That advantage lasted until the top of the fourth, when Ascension Catholic added two more runs.
Parker Hales reached following a Cedar Creek throwing error, and a fielding error allowed Jacob Dunn to join him on base.
A run eventually scored on a passed ball, and Zeringue drove in Dunn with a single to make it 6-0.
In the top of the fifth, Ascension Catholic blew the game wide open with a dominating seven-run flurry.
Tre’ Medine was the leadoff batter. He reached base after being hit by a pitch, and Acosta walked. Medine came around to score on a single by Baylor Leonard. Hales then delivered a two-RBI double.
Jacob Dunn then walked, and William Dunn collected a two-RBI double of his own.
To end the inning, Blanchard drove in a run with a double, and he was driven in by a JB Broussard single.
With the 13-0 lead, pitcher Hunter Walker quickly closed out the Cougars in the bottom of the inning to clinch the victory by way of the mercy rule.
Walker was nearly flawless in five innings of work. He surrendered just one hit, and he struck out three batters.
“He has just done a tremendous job for us in his senior year,” Landry said. “He’s a guy that didn’t get a whole lot of chances in the playoffs last season, but this year, he stepped up. He’s one of our better guys; no doubt.”
From the plate, six different Bulldogs drove in runs. Williams Dunn, Blanchard, Acosta and Hales all drove in two apiece. Blanchard was the only player in the game with multiple hits as he went 2-4.
The win was the seventh straight for Ascension Catholic, and it improved their overall record to 28-6.
“We feel like we’re a team that’s battle tested—no doubt about it,” Landry said. “We played a really good schedule, and we’ve had some really tough competition in the playoffs. We’re gonna see what happens. I know one thing, these kids are not gonna quit.”