St. Amant grinds out opening-day win over Parkview
St. Amant baseball head coach Troy Templet nicknamed last year's semifinal team the "Grinders."
The Gators may have lost most of their starters from that squad but Friday night, they opened their season with a vintage Grinders victory.
To open the Stephen Richardson Memorial Tournament at Dutchtown, the young St. Amant team fell down 2-0 to perennial 3A power Parkview Baptist.
Just like last year, the Gators never blinked. They kept grinding and eventually battled back to tie the game at 3-3.
And in the bottom of the seventh, senior Justin Duhon raced home after a sac grounder by Slade Gaudin. Duhon slid in just in time to give St. Amant the 4-3 victory.
For a while though, things looked bleak for St. Amant.
After Parkview's Hunter Joubert only needed six pitches to make the Gators go three up, three down in the first, the Eagle bats went to work.
After Graham Peavy led off the inning with a walk and eventually reached third after a wild pitch by Peyton Holland, Eric Wharton came through with an RBI single to put Parkview up 1-0.
The next inning, Peavy made an impact once again. After Adam Tarver walked, Peavy sent him home with an RBI single that put the Eagles up 2-0.
Parkview looked like they would increase the lead in the fifth as both Peavy and Hayden Nickens got hits, but St. Amant escaped after they turned a double-play.
The great fielding seemed to finally spark their bats.
In the bottom of the fifth, Davin Cummings led off with a walk, and Duhon sent him home after drilling an RBI triple in a gap in left/center.
Duhon was then brought home to tie the game after an RBI single by Gaudin.
It didn't take long for the Eagles to respond. In the top of the sixth, Wharton walked, and Pryce Fletcher followed it with a single.
That's when Patrick Hart came through with an RBI single to give Parkview a 3-2 advantage.
But once again, St. Amant kept pace.
Brock Bowen got on base to lead off the inning after a throwing error to first. Eventually, Bowen came home to tie the game after a throwing error to first on a perfect Briggs Bourgeois bunt.
WIth Tyler Dixon trying to close things out for the Gators in the seventh, Peavey walked and Wharton singled. However, Dixon was able to thwart the scoring threat and leave the runners stranded.
In the bottom of the seventh, Duhon led off with a single. He then stole second and got to third after a wild pitch.
It didn't take him long to come home. A sacrifice grounder by Gaudin allowed the speedy Duhon to slide in for the winning run.
It capped off a great effort by Duhon. He finished the game 2-3 with a walk, an RBI and two runs scored. Gaudin was 1-4 with two RBIs.
For Parkview, Wharton was 2-2 with two walks and an RBI. Peavy was 1-1 with three walks and an RBI.
The Gators kept grinding after the big win. On Friday night, St. Amant trailed Destrehan 5-1 heading into the sixth but found a way to come back and win the game, 7-5.
On Saturday, they finished the tournament with two more victories as they beat Hammond, 8-7, and Vandebilt Catholic, 9-4.