Gators on to title game, Griffins fall
Ascension Parish was a three-run, walk-off home run away from being represented by two teams in the Class 5A baseball title game.
While one parish team earned a spot in Saturday’s championship matchup by mounting a furious comeback, the other area squad was devastated by one.
Playing in one semifinal game at McMurry Park in Sulphur on Thursday evening, St. Amant came back from a 6-0 deficit to upset fourth-seeded Sulphur High, 10-7.
Conversely, third-seeded Dutchtown led No. 2 West Monroe, 5-0, after five innings. But the Rebels scored three runs in the sixth, and then Trey Hawsey hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh that ended the Griffins’ season in gut-wrenching fashion.
The Gators were playing their first state tournament game in Sulphur since 2014 and their first under head coach Brandon Bravata.
After pulling off a huge upset over top-seeded Barbe in the quarterfinals, it looked like St. Amant’s improbable run would be coming to an emphatic ending early against the Tornados.
Sulphur scored five runs in the second inning to take a 6-0 lead.
Runs were hard to come by for the Gators as they faced Sulphur ace Jake Brown, an LSU commit.
St. Amant finally scored and cut the deficit to 6-2 in the fourth with a sac fly by Ashtyn Ellis and an RBI single by Landon Stewart.
The Gators trailed, 7-2, heading into the sixth inning. That’s when the St. Amant bats came alive. The Gators exploded for eight runs to take the lead.
Stewart led off with a triple, and he was eventually driven home by a Connor Molaison double.
Later, Ryder Molea produced a sac fly, and Blaise Lalonde drove another run home with a base hit.
Stewart and Cole Poirrier each walked in runs, and Ellis came up with an RBI single.
The Gators concluded the offensive onslaught with a two-RBI single by Layne Swanson.
Up 10-7, Dallis Moran was able to keep Sulphur off of the board for the rest of the game. He came in, in relief of starter Jacob Mayers and pitched very well in the Gator victory.
St. Amant is now headed to its first title game appearance since 2004, when the Gators won their fifth state championship.
St. Amant will face second-seeded West Monroe on Saturday, at 6 p.m., on Field 41 of McMurry Park in Sulphur.
The Rebels had to fight back to beat the Griffins in Thursday night’s semifinal matchup.
Dutchtown took a 3-0 lead in the first inning following a Nathan Monceaux RBI single and a two-RBI double by Pierson Parent.
In the second inning, Caleb Ickes hit a solo home run, and Tanner Vadnais hit a homer of his own in the fifth to give the Griffins a commanding 5-0 advantage.
But in the bottom of the sixth, West Monroe scored runs on a wild pitch, a sac fly and an RBI single to cut it to 5-3.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Rebels put two men on base. Then Hawsey hit the three-run blast that won the game.
It was only Dutchtown’s fourth loss of the season. The Griffins finished the year with an overall record of 35-4. That included a District 5-5A championship.
Now, the Rebels will face St. Amant for the Class 5A title.
Coincidently, St. Amant and West Monroe met in Sulphur for the softball state championship game just two weeks ago. The Lady Gators won that game, 10-0.