ACHS Lions roll to two blowout victories

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Ascension Christian's Sal Montalbano. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

After being on the wrong end of a 10-0 drubbing, Ascension Christian was hungry to rebound and begin a new winning streak.

The Lions did just that last week as they walloped both White Castle and Northlake Christian on the road by a combined margin of 26-3.

Under first-year head coach Conrad Gayle, Ascension Christian was able to open the season on a 4-1 tear. This included a three-game winning streak.

Though, on the second day of a tournament they hosted, they dropped the 10-0 decision to French Settlement—a team from Class 2A.

They were desperately seeking to get back on track, and that’s what they were able to do in their road matchup with White Castle last Tuesday.

It only took the Lions five innings to roll through the Bulldogs as the 17-2 blowout was ended early due to the mercy rule.

Ascension Christian got three runs in the opening inning and extended their lead to 4-0 heading into the third.

It was there that the Lions exploded for seven runs to put the contest out of reach.

They scored two in the fourth and another four in the fifth to put the game away.

Overall, Ascension Christian piled up 15 hits in the victory. Four Lions finished with multiple hits.

Nic Montalbano went 2-2 with an RBI. Sal Montalbano, Mason Braud and Jacob Antie all went 2-3, and each player had at least one RBI. Antie finished with two.

Landon Ortego, K’von Delone and Blaze Altazan also drove in two runs.

White Castle was held without a hit.

Josh Diez threw two innings of shoutout baseball with four strikeouts.

Ascension Christian was able to keep up their strong play on Saturday as they traveled to Northlake Christian.

The Lions initially took a 2-0 lead in the second inning, and this score remained all the way until the sixth.

In this frame, Ascension Christian was able to score three more runs. In the seventh, they put the game away by scoring four.

In the 9-1 victory, the Lions only surrendered four hits, but they did commit three errors from the field.

Nic Montalbano earned the victory as he pitched a complete game.

He had tremendous control as he only walked one batter. He threw two times more strikes than balls, and it only took 87 total pitches to complete the game.

Montalbano struck out six batters, and the one run that was allowed was unearned.

When talking about the one-two punch of Montalbano and Diez on the mound, Coach Gayle said, “Nic Montalbano and Josh Diez are two of our best. We’re going to go as far as those guys take us. They just have a great tempo, and they set the tone.”

From the plate, Ascension Christian produced 11 hits.

Montalbano, Ortego, Diez and Tramonte each went 2-4. Montalbano had four RBIs, and Diez had two.

Sal Montalbano went 1-4 with two RBIs.

The victory was the third straight for the Lions and improved their overall record to 7-2.

District play starts this week for Ascension Christian, and they will begin with the district champs.

They will host parish foe Ascension Catholic on Tuesday and Thursday, before taking on Northlake Christian in a rematch on Saturday.

Though it is early, the matchup with the Bulldogs will go a long way in deciding who brings home the district crown at the end of the season. Coach Gayle thinks his team’s experience will help them in these critical clashes.

When describing his Lions, he said, “This is an older group, so not only are they hungry, they know what it takes to hopefully get past that level and achieve the goals we set for ourselves. It’s a great group of guys.”