St. Amant stays undefeated with shutout victory

Kyle Riviere
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Slade Zeppuhar pitched a complete-game shutout in the Gators' win over Denham Springs, allowing just three hits and striking out 10.

St. Amant's Tuesday night game against Denham Springs was pushed back to Wednesday due to the rainy weather conditions, but that extra day off didn't affect the Gators.

St. Amant looked sharp in all phases of the game on Wednesday night. The Gators produced seven hits and seven runs at the plate, their defense only committed one error and starting pitcher Slade Zeppuhar was nearly flawless at the mound.

It all equated to an impressive 7-0 victory by the Gators that maintained their undefeated record.

"We just got done talking about our identity and who we are. We play the game hard, and we play the game energetically," St. Amant head coach Brandon Bravata said. "That's what I ask our guys to do, and that's what we've done through the first six. I'm not one to really care about our record; I just care about how we play and how we approach the game. Right now, we've created a little bit of an identity for ourselves, and we just have to continue to do that."

The Gator offense got it going early.

In the bottom of the first inning, Zeppuhar walked and Josh Denton singled. That led to an RBI double by Alex Hebert down the left-field line.

Later, another run scored on a sac fly by Brayden Kurigar to make it 2-0.

Zeppuhar then went to work on the mound. In the second and third innings, he struck out five of the six batters he faced.

In the bottom of the third, St. Amant pulled away from the Yellow Jackets.

The bases were loaded after three walks of Zeppuhar, Hebert and Kuriger. That's when Aaron Day came through with a two-RBI double, and Kuriger came around to score following a Denham Springs throwing error.

Day eventually scored on a sac fly by Cole Poirrier that pushed the Gator lead to 6-0.

Denham Springs finally showed signs of life in the top of the fourth as it came up with its first two hits of the game. But both base-runners were stranded as Zeppuhar ended the scoring threat with two straight strikeouts.

St. Amant scored its final run in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Lee Amedee crushed a double that hit the centerfield wall. Zeppuhar then came up with an infield single, and Amedee scored following an errant throw to first base.

From the plate, Denton was the only Gator with multiple hits. He went 2-4. Hebert was 1-2 with a walk and an RBI, while Day was 1-3 with two RBIs.

Zeppuhar was terrific from the mound. He pitched a complete-game shutout, yielding just three hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts.

"He had the one hit-by-pitch, but other than that, he didn't give up any other free bases," Bravata said. "He had his changeup working and his breaking ball working, and his changeup was almost unhittable tonight. Then he was able to come back with a mid-80s fastball that they were tardy on because he was throwing the other two pitches so well."

The win improved St. Amant to a perfect 6-0 here in the early part of the 2021 season.

"We stay so much in the moment," Bravata said. "I know that's coach cliche, but we have to go play a 3:30 game tomorrow an hour and a half away. We just talked about how we're going to approach that. I don't get too caught up in us being 6-0, because in 5A baseball, we can be 6-6 real quick. We just have to stick with our identity and what got us here, and we'll be fine."