East Ascension outlasts St. Amant in eight innings
After being blanked by Dutchtown on Wednesday night, East Ascension came out swinging against archrival St. Amant as they played for a share of the district lead on Friday evening.
The Spartans jumped out to an 8-2 lead and even after a Justin Duhon grand slam, they were able to seize the victory, 10-9, in an extra-inning thriller.
"I thought that it was a typical EA/St. Amant game," East Ascension head coach Britt Waguespack said. "I didn't think the wheels fell off. I think our kid threw a great pitch. The kid just hit a great pitch. Unfortunately, it was a grand slam, but it happens, and our kids fought back from that, but hats off to them. They weren't going anywhere."
Conversely, St. Amant head coach Troy Templet was very disappointed with the critical mistakes his team made to put them in the 8-2 hole.
"We didn't do anything well in the game, not one area did we do well," Templet said. "You have to give credit to East Ascension. They scored one more run than us, and they battled the whole way. It just wasn't a very clean baseball game."
The game actually took two days to complete. They played the first half of the first inning Thursday night, but the contest was moved to Friday evening after lightning and heavy rain.
So, the game picked up then with the Spartans leading, 1-0.
East Ascension extended the advantage in the top of the third inning as Ben Thompson reached first following a Gator throwing error.
Thompson was then brought home with an RBI double by Charles Stevens. Stevens eventually scored and Hayden Adams reached base after a St. Amant fielding error.
Adams eventually scored on an infield RBI single by Cole Holley to give East Ascension a 4-0 lead.
The Gators cut the deficit in half at the bottom of the inning.
Brock Gonzales reached base with a leadoff walk and Adam Sevario got on after an East Ascension fielding error.
Briggs Bourgeois then came through with an RBI single, and that was followed by a Duhon RBI.
Unfortunately for St. Amant, their suspect defense put them in an even bigger hole the next inning.
Jacob Thompson reached base after another Gator error and then reached second after an errant throw to first on an attempted pickoff play.
Jacob Thompson came home and Ben Thompson got on base after a throwing error.
Kade Waguespack then walked and Stevens singled to load the bases. Adams brought two of the runners in with an two-RBI single.
The Spartans scored their final run of the inning after a Holley RBI single. It put East Ascension up 8-2.
The Spartans looked like they had the game in the bag, but St. Amant finally showed signs of life.
Tyler Dixon led off the bottom of the fourth with a walk, Ivan Prejean collected an infield single and Sevario singled to load the bases.
Bourgeois walked to bring Dixon home and Duhon came up huge. He crushed a grand slam over the leftfield wall to cut the East Ascension lead to 8-7.
Brandt Fairchild came in to pitch for the Spartans, and Dixon immediately drilled a double, and Zachary Lipoma followed it up with a single.
Tristan Babin then came in to pitch with two runners on and no outs. He quickly proved why he's one of the best players in the area as he struck out all three batters he faced to escape the tough jam.
"I just went with a gut feeling," Coach Waguespack said. "I went with Tristan and like seniors do, they step up. He's got real good stuff and he said 'no' that inning, and that was a big key for us."
In the sixth, the Gators were able to tie the game. Bourgeois, Duhon and Brock Bowen all walked to load the bases. Dixon then tied it up with a sacrifice fly.
East Ascension took the lead right back in the seventh as Holley drew a leadoff walk and eventually came home after a Ben Thompson RBI single.
The Gators never blinked. In the bottom of the seventh, Duhon sent it to an extra inning with a two-outs RBI single.
The drama intensified in the top of the eighth as Adams walked for East Ascension. The St. Amant mistakes reared their ugly head once again.
Three straight passed balls moved Adams to second, third and then home to give the Spartans the 10-9 lead.
The Gators had their chance to win in the bottom of the eighth. Lipoma drew a two-outs walk and Prejean cracked a double, but Gonzales flew out to allow the Spartans to ice it away.
In the loss, Duhon was spectacular. He went 3-4 with a walk, a grand slam and six RBIs. Bourgeois went 1-1 with four walks and two RBIs.
Even with the way his team battled back from six runs down, there was no moral victory for Coach Templet.
"We're supposed to do that; we're not supposed to make as many mistakes as we did," Templet said.
The errors killed St. Amant; they committed seven of them.
"They gift-wrapped a few for us there at the beginning, but I thought we were hitting some balls hard, too," Coach Waguespack said. "I thought we were putting good swings on pitches, so it could have gone either way. They did gift-wrap us some, but we took advantage."
Adams led the way for East Ascension. Not only did he close the game out from the mound, he went 2-4 with a walk and two RBIs from the plate. Holley went 2-3 with two walks and a run batted in.
Over the weekend, St. Amant won the rematch, 14-6. It knotted the two teams up for second in the district, only behind Catholic.