Chicks dig the long-ball

Kyle Riviere @kyleR_sports
Jordan Romero hit two of Catholic's five long-balls in the 10-9 win--including this two-run shot in the fourth. Photo by Dewey Keller.

Just like the three-point shot in hoops, the long-ball often proves to be the big difference in a baseball game. Look no further than Catholic's 10-9 extra-inning win over St. Amant last Thursday night.

The Bears surged to the victory on the power of five home runs--which accounted for seven of Catholic's 10 total runs.

"We had 12 hits in the first three innings, so we were keeping pace with them," St. Amant head coach Troy Templet said. "They were just hitting the long-ball. We weren't hitting our spots, and they made us pay for it."

And in a game where the two teams combined for 19 runs and 27 hits, you wouldn't expect pitching to play a key role, but it did for the Bears.

For the first three innings, the Gator bats belted out 12 hits and nine runs and forced two Catholic pitchers to make early exits.

However, the St. Amant offense came to a screeching half at the end of the third when Bear relief pitcher Ben Braymer stepped onto the mount. The Gators never found an answer as Braymer gave up only three hits and no runs for the rest of the game while his teammates continued to flaunt their power at the plate.

The scoring started early and often as Catholic's Nick Coomes and Austin Divillier each went yard in the first inning--with Divillier's shot being a two-run blast.

Facing the 3-0 deficit, St. Amant got a run in the bottom of the first when Brennan Grant got himself an RBI-single.

However, it was the second inning where the Gators really got the bats going.

Trailing 4-1, Branson Bowen led off with a single, and Kirk Elisar got on base with a bunt. That's when Madison Nickens got himself an RBI-single.

Another run scored as Matthew Delaune laid down a bunt that resulted in an errant Bear throw to first. Ryan Cardinale then brought home a run on a sacrifice fly into center.

To end the barrage, Grant got another RBI-single, and Cole Benoit collected one as well to put St. Amant up 6-4 heading into the third.

More power ensued for Catholic as Corey Free sent a solo blast into centerfield. The Bears then tied the score after the Gators committed an error in the outfield.

However, St. Amant picked up where they left off in the bottom of the inning. Delaune and Jacob Morales led off with singles.

Morales then came around and scored after Catholic made an errant throw to first to try to throw out Cardinale.

And just like the inning before, Grant and Benoit produced back-to-back RBIs.

The ample offense gave St. Amant a 9-6 lead. That's when Braymer came in for the Bears and got them out of the inning.

Catholic had a quick answer as Jordan Romero crushed the Bears' fourth home run of the game in the form of a two-run blast over the centerfield wall. It cut the Gator lead to 9-8.

And in the top of the sixth, Catholic tied the score when Romero went yard again with a solo shot over the wall at left.

Things got tense as the game entered the final inning deadlocked at 9-9.

After three straight walks, the Bears loaded the bases with only one out and Romero up to bat. However, Gator relief pitcher Cameron Templet got the slugger to fly out. St. Amant then escaped the inning when Free grounded out.

It set up a perfect scenario for the Gators to win it. Elisar led off the inning with a bunt, and Nickens got Elisar to second with a sacrifice bunt of his own.

Delaune then sent a deep shot to short that got him to first and put Elisar to third with only one out.

However, Braymer didn't lose his cool. With the winning run just 90 feet away, he quickly composed himself and got out of the jam with two straight strikeouts to send the game to extra innings.

"We just didn't execute when we had the chance," Templet said. "We held them in the top of the seventh--bases loaded and only one out. We got the lead-off man on in the bottom of the inning, and we just didn't execute. We had two strikeouts; you gotta put the ball in play in that situation."

In the eighth, Conner Whalen got on with a walk, and Hunter D'Armand brought him home on a liner into leftfield that Morales couldn't get to. Cameron Templet struck out three batters, but the damage was done as St. Amant faced the 10-9 deficit heading into the bottom of the inning.

Facing their final out, the Gators were able to get Reese LeBlanc on with a single to center. Bowen stepped up with a chance to tie the game, but he popped out--allowing the Bears to close out the 10-9 win.

Romero led the charge for Catholic--going 3-4 with the two homers and three RBIs. Divillier chipped in--going 2-4 with a homer and two RBIs.

For St. Amant, Grant had the best night--going 3-5 with three RBIs, Benoit went 2-4 with two RBIs and Delaune also went 3-5 in the effort.

The loss dropped the Gators to 15-7 overall and 2-2 in the district. They'll try to get back on track Thursday night when they host Dutchtown. The Griffins beat them in the district-opener last month 13-5.