Gators roll to first playoff win in three years
Last season, St. Amant looked poised to make a deep playoff run. The Gators won more than 25 regular-season games and earned the No. 9 seeding for the postseason.
But hosting No. 24 Captain Shreve in the first round, the Gators’ championship dreams were quickly dashed with an upset loss in extra innings.
One year later, St. Amant headed into the postseason winners of nearly 30 games and seeded eighth in 5A. The Gators hosted a first-round contest against No. 25 Chalmette.
But this time around, the results were drastically different. St. Amant lived up to its high seeding and bullied the Owls from start to finish.
The Gators jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first and never looked back. In the end, it took them just five innings to capture an 11-0 victory—St. Amant’s first playoff win since 2019.
“We talked about being the hunter and not the prey,” Gator head coach Brandon Bravata said. “We used the analogy of a wolfpack surrounding its prey, and they really bought into that. You could feel the energy in the dugout all night. It was a great team win.”
St. Amant loaded the bases in the first inning following walks by Lee Amedee and Brayden Kuriger and a bunt single by Ryder Molea.
Blaise Lalonde then drove two runs home with a single, and Ashtyn Ellis plated another with a base hit to make it 3-0.
The Gators added to that lead in the second.
Connor Molaison led off with a walk, and Molea collected an RBI double. Molea was later sent home by a base hit by Kuriger.
In the third, things really broke down for Chalmette.
After the Gators loaded the bases, Amedee drove in a run with a sac fly. That was followed by two runs scoring on wild pitches and another coming home following a balk.
Up 9-0 in the bottom of the fourth, St. Amant put the game away for good.
Lalonde led off with a walk, and Ellis drove him home with a single. Ellis later scored on a wild pitch to make it 11-0.
Last year’s first-round upset loss made Bravata a little uneasy going into Tuesday’s game, but he said he was thrilled with how his team approached the matchup.
“For me, it was rather nerve-racking, to be honest with you,” Bravata said. “For them, we’ve been talking about it all year. We made some mistakes in that game last year that we were able to learn from, and I think that our approach was much, much better this time around. So, I think that we definitely learned from our playoff experience last season.”
In the win, Ellis went 2-3 with two RBIs, while Molea was 2-2 with a walk and an RBI. Lalonde was 1-2 with a walk, and he drove in two runs.
From the mound, Dallis Moran threw five shutout innings in which he surrendered just two hits. He struck out nine.
It was the Gators’ first playoff victory under Bravata. St. Amant will now host a second-round series for the first time since 2018.
“I think it’s a big confidence boost for us, especially with us being able to play here in the second round,” Bravata said. “We definitely like playing here over somewhere else. We’re excited about it, and it’s going to be a huge opportunity for us—no matter who the opponent will be.”
The Gators will face ninth-seeded Live Oak. With two victories, they’ll advance to the state quarterfinals.