East Ascension bounces back with win over Holy Cross
After being completely shut down by Hahnville in the Stephen Richardson Memorial Tournament opening game Thursday night, East Ascension's bats awoke and helped them surge to a 5-2 victory over Holy Cross on Friday.
The Spartans fell down 1-0 in the opening inning but then scored five straight runs to take command of the game. They got three of those runs in the bottom of the second.
"In the last two games, we had 26 strikeouts in 14 innings," East Ascension's first-year head coach Britt Waguespack said. "I really thought enough was enough with them and whenever they started thinking that, the tide turned for us.
"We had a huge bunt that we got down, and we had a huge hit at the right time but for the most part, we put a little pressure on their defense, and the tables turned offensively for us. I'm proud of our guys. They're gonna compete; they're gonna battle."
With Austin McInnis on the mound for East Ascension, Holy Cross was able to take the early lead.
Christian Clayton got a two-outs single to keep things alive for the Tigers. His hit proved to be big as he was sent home on an RBI single by Cyle Clayton.
East Ascension trailed 1-0 but unlike their previous outings, their offense finally showed up, and they showed up in a big way. In the bottom of the first, they were able to tie the game.
Kade Waguespack led things off with a walk. Noah Fontenot then laid down a bunt. After an errant throw to first, Waguespack was able to come all the way around to score.
In the bottom of the second, East Ascension was able to take control of the game as they exploded for three runs.
Hayden Adams and Jorda LeBlanc opened the inning with back-to-back singles. They then moved to second and third base after a great bunt by Zach Gautreau.
Ben Thompson then collected an infield RBI single. Kade Waguespack then followed it up with an RBI double.
Finally, Fontenot hit a sacrifice fly into the outfield that allowed another run to come home and give the Spartans a 4-1 advantage.
It appeared East Ascension scored another run in the fourth inning when Thompson crushed a two-outs home run over the leftfield wall, but the umpires ruled that he never stepped on first base. After Holy Cross made the throw to first, Thompson's homer was taken off of the board and the inning ended in a very controversial out.
That score remained until the bottom of the fifth.
Kade Waguespack once again led off the inning with a walk and then reached second after a bunt. He then scored his second run of the game after an RBI single by Charles Stevens.
Holy Cross finally mounted some offense in the sixth.
Cyle Clayton led the inning off with a double, and Wes Robinson followed it up with a single. Grant Schultz then brought Clayton home with an RBI single.
Luckily for the Spartans, Brandt Fairchild came in, in relief of McInnis and was able to escape the inning with Tiger runners on the corners.
Holy Cross had their last chance in the seventh.
Kade Waguespack couldn't make a difficult play in centerfield, allowing Micky Toscano to get on. Christian Clayton then got on after an error at first, and the bases were loaded with just one out when Cyle Clayton walked.
Just like in the sixth, Fairchild was able to keep his composure. He ended the game with two straight strikeouts. It allowed the Spartans to bounce back with a 5-2 victory.
Cyle Clayton went 2-3 with a walk and an RBI for Holy Cross, but the Tigers couldn't find much additional offense.
"That was probably the cleanest game we've had, up until that last inning but like I always tell the kids, mistakes are going to happen," Coach Waguespack said. "You keep playing and go to the next play, and we did that tonight. I thought that was key."
As for the Spartan bats, Kade Waguespack, Thompson and Stevens all went 1-2. Waguespack walked twice, scored twice and added an RBI. Thompson walked once and had an RBI; Stevens had an RBI as well.
Coach Waguespack liked the way his team bounced back from the night before, but he's confident his team will play well regardless of what happened in the opening tournament.
"We have a goal, and it's been set since last year, and we're not shying away from anything. This is baseball. You can lose three in a row, and you can come back and win six in a row," Waguespack said. "We're not getting away from what we're trying to do, and all we look at is the next opponent. If we take care of that business, we'll be fine."
The Spartans split their final two games in the tournament. They lost to Hammond, 9-5, in their opening game Saturday, and they crushed Vandebilt Catholic, 10-3, to finish the weekend 2-2.