Moran’s arm leads St. Amant to win over EA
On Thursday evening, East Ascension starting pitcher Luke Conerly was superb. He pitched a complete game against St. Amant, holding the Gators to just four hits and one run.
But the Spartans still lost. That’s because as great as Conerly was, St. Amant pitcher Dallis Moran was even better.
Moran was absolutely dominant. He didn’t allow a single hit in six and two-third innings pitched, and he rung up 13 strikeouts.
His spectacular outing was good enough for St. Amant to escape with a 1-0 victory.
“Thank goodness for his performance, because if not for that, we certainly would not have won that game,” Gator head coach Brandon Bravata said. “It was a totally gutsy performance. I was pleased with his ability to make adjustments from our last outing, when he maybe didn’t handle adversity as well as we would have liked.
“He came back and showed no emotion on the mound today, except positive emotions. I think that was a big thing for him, and I think that will go a long way when he pitches in the playoffs.”
St. Amant looked primed to jump out to an early lead in the top of the second inning. Cole Poirrier led off with a double, and Ashtyn Ellis reached base following a Spartan throwing error.
However, Conerly bounced back by striking out the next three batters he faced.
In the fourth, Blaise Lalonde and Landon Stewart each walked, but once again, Conerly was able to pitch his way out of the jam. Both players ended the inning stranded on base.
But Conerly couldn’t get through the fifth inning unscathed. Lee Amedee crushed a solo home run over the right-field wall to give St. Amant a 1-0 lead.
“We’ve been waiting for our guys to do something big like that in a big-time game,” Bravata said. “It’s been a while since they have. Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games, and Lee’s home run was huge right there.”
Up 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Moran finally began to show signs of fatigue. He walked both Peyton Melancon and Dominick Regira to begin the inning. But Moran was able to escape with two key strikeouts.
Moran came close to finishing off a complete-game no-hitter, but after he walked Jace Babin with two outs in the seventh, Bravata sent in closer Brier LeBlanc. LeBlanc was able to chalk up a strikeout to end the game.
Conerly handcuffed the Gator offense for much of the contest. He struck out eight batters.
Amedee and Poirrier had all of St. Amant’s hits. Amedee was 2-3 with a walk and the home run that proved to be the game winner. Poirrier was also 2-3.
The victory was much needed for the Gators. They were coming off of three straight district defeats.
“We went through that three-game district losing streak, and I thought we did a good job of coming out on Saturday and regrouping and refocusing. I think there’s a challenge this week, with our guys being off on spring break,” Bravata said. “Hats off to EA. They gave us a battle, but we have to focus on ourselves and make sure we’re going into the playoffs in the right direction, so we’re gonna get right back to work tomorrow.”