Bulldogs lose heartbreaking series to OCHS

Kyle Riviere
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Ascension Catholic junior third baseman Bryce Leonard.

All three of the quarterfinal series games between hosting Ascension Catholic and Opelousas Catholic went down to the wire and followed the same formula.

In game one, Opelousas Catholic came from behind late and won in extra innings, 5-4. In game two, Ascension Catholic was down one in the seventh, before scoring two runs and winning, 5-4.

And in game three, Opelousas Catholic was down 2-0 in the seventh, before scoring two runs and forcing an extra inning. In that extra frame, the Vikings dealt the Bulldogs a heartbreaking 4-2 defeat—ending Ascension Catholic’s season just short of the state tournament.

“I think both teams were pretty evenly matched. Both teams fought hard, grinded through at-bats and grinded out pitches on the mound,” Bulldog head coach Gee Cassard said. “Ultimately, they got some balls to fall in, and we didn’t get enough timely hits. We didn’t make enough plays in a close series that was always decided by a run or two. That’s the difference in the whole series.”

In the decisive game three, Ascension Catholic took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third. Jackson Landry walked, and Brooks Leonard came up with an RBI single.

The Bulldogs added a run in the bottom of the fifth.

Joel Landry was hit by a pitch, and he eventually reached third after a Jacob Dunn single. Landry then scored on a passed ball.

The Bulldogs carried a 2-0 lead into the top of the seventh.

Starting pitcher Kaleb Reddicks gave up a leadoff single, prompting Coach Cassard to put in reliever Demarco Harry to finish the game.

Harry surrendered a walk, but then retired two straight Vikings.

The Bulldogs were just one out away from victory when Opelousas Catholic came up with a bloop single into left field, which scored a run. The ball was mishandled in the outfield, allowing another Viking to score and tie the game.

The game then went to an extra inning.

In the eighth, Opelousas Catholic’s leadoff batter reached base following a Bulldog throwing error. The next batter was hit by a pitch.

That set the table for a two-RBI single by the Vikings that gave them their first lead of the game at 4-2.

In the bottom of the frame, Dunn got on base following a throwing error, but he could never get past second base.

“Opelousas Catholic never gave up. They just kept coming at us, and we just kept running out of outs offensively,” Cassard said. “I think we battled enough, but we just could never find that timely hit. And it seemed like when they got hits, guys were on. They have a really good club. Our guys are really good too, but baseball is a cruel game. It seemed like today, they found some holes at the right times, and we just couldn’t get that last out to move on.”

The Bulldogs only had three hits in game three. Brooks Leonard had two of them, going 2-4 with an RBI.

Before being pulled, Reddicks went six complete innings from the mound, giving up just three hits.

Opelousas Catholic was limited to just five hits overall.

The loss ended Ascension Catholic’s streak of three straight trips to Sulphur for the state tournament. Their season ends with an overall record of 24-9.

“I’m proud of my guys for the first year,” Cassard said. “It’s a great program. The guys ahead of me did an outstanding job, and the kids here are unbelievable. They play hard, and they do everything that you ask them to do. Things can come to an end real quick in the playoffs. One minute, it can look like you’re about to move on, and the next, you’re battling to stay alive. We just ran out of time. That’s a good club over there, but I wouldn’t trade it for mine.”