EA offense struggles in loss to C. Catholic
On Monday night, Tanner Hebert held Central Catholic to just three hits in six innings of work. Usually, that’s the recipe for an emphatic Spartan victory, but it wasn’t this time around.
East Ascension’s bats were even quieter than those of Central Catholic. The Spartans were held to just two hits in what resulted in a 2-1 loss. It was East Ascension’s fourth straight defeat.
Just a little more than a week earlier, the Spartans were 14-8 overall and fresh off of splitting games with defending district champion Catholic. Now, East Ascension is reeling to keep its spot in the postseason field.
“We’ve gotten away from competing at the plate with two strikes,” Spartan head coach Kade Keowen said. “When we had success at the beginning of the season, we were taking offensive hacks, trying to do damage and grinding out at-bats. We’ve gone away from that. Hopefully, we get back to it soon, because we have nothing but tough games coming up.”
Central Catholic came into the matchup as a top-10 team in Division IV, and they lived up to the high billing against the Spartans.
In the top of the first inning, the Eagles scored their two runs. They were made possible by a two-outs throwing error by East Ascension.
The miscue was followed by a walk and a base hit that gave Central Catholic a 2-0 lead.
The Spartans scored their only run in the bottom of the first.
Brock Hebert drew a two-outs walk, and even though Jacob Falgoust struck out, the inning stayed alive for the Spartans when Falgoust reached first base, following a dropped third strike by the Eagle catcher.
Tanner Herbert then came up with an RBI single to cut the deficit to 2-1.
Unfortunately for East Ascension, 13 of the next 14 Spartan hitters were retired. They didn’t get multiple base runners until the bottom of the sixth.
Kael Babin led off with a single, but he was eventually gunned out trying to reach third on a Brock Hebert grounder.
Central Catholic later intentionally walked Falgoust, but both he and Hebert ended the inning stranded on base.
That ended up being East Ascension’s best chance to tie or take the lead. In the bottom of the seventh, the Spartans were turned away in order.
Tanner Hebert and Babin were the only East Ascension players to come up with hits. Babin finished 1-2 with a walk.
In defeat, Hebert pitched six complete innings, giving up just three hits. He struck out six batters.
“Tanner Hebert didn’t have his best stuff tonight, but he competed his tail off on the mound,” Keowen said. “We gave up two runs early, but then he throws up zeros for the rest of the game. When he’s pitching like that, we need to win baseball games. He deserves more than one run. He goes out there and battles, and he gave us a chance to win tonight.”
The Spartans still have tough games remaining. They play St. Michael (ranked 13th in Division II) and St. Amant (ranked 10th in Class 5A) twice.
“We’re shooting ourselves in the foot,” Keowen said. “As of two weeks ago, we were flirting with hosting in the first-round of the playoffs. And now, we’re going to have to scratch and claw to get into the playoffs. Hopefully, these seniors take that to heart. Last year’s seniors didn’t have a postseason; they didn’t get to finish the year. Hopefully, these guys wake up at some point and realize that they better step it up, or we’re going to be at home come two weeks.”