Leonard’s one-hitter fuels Bulldog victory

Kyle Riviere
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Ascension Catholic pitcher Bryce Leonard threw a one-hit shutout against St. John.

Over the years, Ascension Catholic and St. John have had plenty of key district matchups that have gone down to the wire, and the latest installment in the rivalry was no exception.

Playing at home on Monday night, the game was scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning. That’s when the Bulldogs came up with back-to-back hits to start the frame. Both base-runners ended up scoring to give them a 2-0 lead.

And in the seventh, Bryce Leonard finished off a one-hitter to give Ascension Catholic a big bounce-back victory following a tough 8-7 loss to Central Private over the weekend.

“We need to win all games, but that’s a big rivalry for us, and you never want to lose two in a row,” Bulldogs head coach Gee Cassard said. “If you lose two in a row at this time of year, your season can come to an end. So, today was a good one. We needed to get back on track. It was a good ball game. You have to do a lot of things right to win a 2-0 game. I love the way we battled, and it was a good team win.”

Bryce Leonard and St. John pitcher Charlie Guidry were dominant for most of the night. Heading into the fifth inning, each team had just one hit.

In the bottom of that frame, Demarco Harry came up with an infield single. And on a base hit by Collin Brown, it appeared Harry scored a go-ahead run for Ascension Catholic, but a controversial call took the run off of the board.

The St. John catcher was standing on the third-base line and blocking home plate as he waited for the throw to home. This caused a collision between him and Harry. The umpire ruled it an out and threw Harry out of the game.

In the bottom of the sixth, Lex Melancon led off with a double, and he was then sent home on a single by Brooks Leonard. Leonard later scored on a sac fly by Layton Melancon to make it 2-0.

“I thought that early on, we didn’t stick to our plan. The field was fast, and we need to be more of a line-drive team. At times, we try to lift the ball a little too much,” Cassard said. “In the later innings, they knew we were going to have to go to the short game, so I think we focused a little more. That kind of ignited our offense. And we had the right guys up at the right spots. We have to be a little better with our approach and staying in the strike zone as an offense. But take nothing away from their guy; he did a good job.”

Brooks Leonard went 2-3 with an RBI, while Lex Melancon, Brown and Harry were all 1-2.

From the mound, Bryce Leonard pitched a complete-game shutout. He gave up just one hit, and he struck out 10.

“He was huge. He had command tonight, he had really good stuff and he was poised,” Cassard said. “He pitched with a lot of confidence—even when they got guys in scoring positions. He came up with better pitches, whether it was breaking balls early on or finishing with the fastball. He was excellent tonight. Him and his brother (Brooks) are two good ones. When they’re on the mound, I feel good about our chances.”