Griffins end regular season with statement against Gators

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Conner Ghere went 2-2 with two walks and an RBI in Dutchtown's 8-2 win over St. Amant. Photo by DKMoon Photography.

Just two weeks ago, Dutchtown looked like they would be missing the playoffs for the first time in 10 years as they sat at 11-16 and just 2-3 in the district. Oh how quickly things changed.

The Griffins finished the regular season on a five-game tear last Thursday evening as they went to St. Amant and thrashed the Gators, 8-2, to head into the postseason as one of the hottest teams in the area.

"Today, I thought we swung the bats really well. We squared up some balls," Dutchtown head coach Chris Schexnaydre said. "Even on some outs we had, we squared up well, and that's a good sign going into the playoffs. Hopefully, we're peaking at the right time."

The Griffins came into the contest fresh off of a 4-0 victory over St. Amant on Tuesday. Ace Dillon Abbess pitched a complete-game, two-hits shutout in the win.

This time around, Hunter Sanford took the mound and though he gave up some hits, great defense allowed him to take complete control.

Conversely, the disappointing trend of shoddy defense cursed the Gators once again.

Dutchtown got a run in the first inning after Nick Ourso reached base following a St. Amant fielding error. He eventually came home on a sacrifice grounder by Brandt Fritsche.

In the second, Dane Anderson and Conner Ghere both walked. Another Gator error on a grounder by Bailey Braud sent both runners home and gave the Griffins a 3-0 lead.

To start the third inning, Caleb Ricca walked and Fritsche was hit by a pitch.

Tyler Boeding and Anderson both came through with RBI singles to bring each player home.

To end the inning, Ghere collected an infield RBI single to give Dutchtown a dominant 6-0 advantage.

After stranding two runners in the bottom half of the inning, the Gators finally put a run on the board in the fourth.

Brock Bowen led off with a single and eventually came home after Tyler Dixon reached base on a fielder's choice.

But the Griffins responded in the fifth as Anderson led things off with a double and Ghere followed it up with a walk.

Freeman Jones then reached base with another St. Amant fielding error. The error also allowed Anderson to score.

Ghere also scored when Ourso belted out a sacrifice grounder to put the Dutchtown lead to 8-1.

St. Amant was able to score one last run in the sixth when Slade Gaudin jacked a leadoff double and eventually scored on a Zachary Lipoma sac' grounder.

Unfortunately for the Gators, little offense followed. After Justin Duhon flied out in the seventh, they fell to the Griffins, 8-2.

Dutchtown has struggled at the plate all season, but they hit it well against St. Amant on Thursday--combining for eight hits and eight runs.

"I felt that since the McKinley series, we had some guys that really started seeing the ball and they've made contact at the plate," Schexnaydre said. "The biggest key is they're starting to buy into what Coach is trying to teach them and we're having quality at-bats because we're going in there and taking some pitches, drawing some walks and when you start drawing walks, that means you're seeing the ball better."

Ghere went 2-2 with two walks and an RBI while Anderson went 2-3 with a walk and a RBI. Fritsche also went 2-3 with a walk and an RBI while Ourso went 1-3 with a walk and two runs batted in.

St. Amant hit the ball well, but they could never take advantage.

Sevario and Brock Gonzales each went 2-3. Though Lipoma went 0-3, he drove in both of the Gators' runs.

Sanford gave up nine hits, but he only walked one batter and only surrendered two runs in the complete-game effort.

"We've been getting consistent pitching and any time you get consistent pitching and good defense, you give yourself a chance to win. We've done that the last couple of games," Schexnaydre said. "We've been getting timely hits. That's the key down the stretch. I don't care how many hits you get, they have to be timely hits, and we've been able to get some the last few games."

After looking dead in the water just two weeks ago, the Griffins headed into the playoffs re-energized--riding a five-game winning streak.

"That's what we stress to the kids: playing well at the right time. I told them before we came out today, win or lose, I just wanted them to play well and just leave here with a good feeling," Schexnaydre said. "Any time you can win--especially against a parish rival--it makes you feel good. We got outstanding pitching on the mound today, we played great defense and I'm just proud of my guys."