The dirty dozen
Runs were not at a premium last Friday at St. Amant. The Gators scored a dozen, and they needed every single one of them.
Hosting the 11-2 Ponchatoula Green Wave, the two teams combined for 22 runs as St. Amant overcame an early 5-0 deficit to clinch a big 12-10 win.
Leading the charge was Branson Bowen—who hadn't had many at-bats coming into the game. But after his performance on Friday, he just might have earned himself more time at the plate.
Bowen helped the Gators explode for nine runs in the fourth and fifth innings to take an 11-5 lead. In those two innings, Bowen went 2-2 with a three-run homer and a two-RBI-double. And to top it off, he scored from second on a wild pitch.
After the nine straight St. Amant runs to take the 11-5 lead, the Gators fought off a hard-charging Green Wave rally in the final two innings. Ponchatoula outscored them 5-1 to end the game but after St. Amant's Skylar Enlow struck out Brady Raiford, the Green Wave officially ran out of time.
The offensive numbers started to pile up at the beginning of the second inning.
Already up 1-0, Ponchatoula got two runs after Blaine Shexnayder couldn't handle a hot-shot to his short stop position. To follow that up, Hunter Landon and Josh McGee each got RBI-singles, and the Green Wave took a commanding 5-0 lead.
St. Amant chipped away at the deficit and got two runs when Bowen hit a RBI-double in the second and Ryan Cardinale got an RBI-single in the third.
With the Gators forcing Ponchatoula to strand six men on base in the third and fourth innings, they remained only down 5-2. That's when the sky fell for the Green Wave.
Reese LeBlanc and Mathew Delaune led off the inning with singles—setting the table for Bowen, and he took full advantage. Bowen drilled a three-run shot over the centerfield wall to tie the game at 5.
The blast ignited the St. Amant bats as Jacob Morales belted out a two-RBI-triple, and he eventually came home on a sacrifice fly to deep centerfield by Cardinale. The offensive explosion gave the Gators an 8-5 lead heading into the fifth.
There, they scored three more assurance runs as Ponchatoula began to look rattled in the field. They committed two errors that put two on for St. Amant.
Bowen was money again. He came on and drilled a two-RBI-double that hit the very top of the scoreboard in leftfield—mere inches away from another three-run homer.
It worked itself out though as Bowen went to third after a wild pitch but with the catcher being a little too nonchalant in retrieving the ball, Bowen made the heads-up play of heading home. He slid in for another Gator run to put them up 11-5.
Poncatoula finally got over the St. Amant assault in the sixth and cut the lead to 11-7. And in the seventh, they put up three more runs to cut the Gator lead to 12-10.
However, the rally was too late for the Green Wave. After Enlow got the final out for St. Amant with a strike-out, the Gators clinched the huge win.
In the offensive slugfest, seven total pitchers were used.
For Ponchatoula, McGee went 2-4, and Mo Landry went 2-3—with each player having an RBI.
As for St. Amant, Morales and Cardinale both went 2-4 with two RBIs. Bowen collected a ridiculous six RBIs on three hits—one being the big three-run homer in the fourth.
The game wasn't exactly what St. Amant head coach Troy Templet had in mind, but he was very happy with how his team fought back and got the win.
"It's like I just told the guys, I'll take an ugly win any day over an ugly loss, but we definitely have some things to clean up and some room for improvement," Templet said.
The Gators remained hot over the weekend as they crushed Springfield 10-0 and then squeaked by Runnels 5-2 for their sixth straight win. It pushed their overall record to 13-5.
They'll step into district play this week as they make the short trip to No. 8 Dutchtown on Thursday for their district-opener.