Lions bounce back with shutout of Bulldogs

Kyle Riviere
Ascension Christian's Landon Ortego slides safely to second as an errant throw gets by Ascension Catholic's Rodney Blanchard. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

What a different 48 hours make.

On Tuesday, Ascension Catholic looked every bit like a top-five team as they blanked Ascension Christian in their district opener, 12-0.

Two days later, Ascension Catholic was the team getting shut out.

Behind a tremendous complete-game performance by sophomore pitcher Nic Montalbano, the Lions did just enough on offense to earn a huge 2-0 victory.

"We had an outstanding practice yesterday. The guys were fired up," first-year Ascension Christian head coach Conrad Gayle said. "They were hungry to get here, because they believe they're a good team. They just need that little bit of confidence to get over that hurdle. Today was a huge success. It's a good win for us, a good win for the program. I just hope we can build on this."

Ascension Catholic was able to collect three hits against Montalbano in the first two innings, but for the rest of the game, they were limited to just one.

"Our pitcher did a great job on Tuesday, and their pitcher did an excellent job today. He kept us off-balanced and threw strikes," Ascension Catholic head coach Todd Landry said. "You have to tip your hat to them. They made all the plays. They got all the timely hits, and we couldn't do that today."

The only runs of the game were scored in the bottom of the third.

The bases were loaded after a Jacob Antie walk, bunt single by Mason Braud and a fielder's choice by Landon Ortego.

Montalbano then did damage from the plate as he belted a two-RBI single that eventually proved to be the game-winning runs.

Besides going 2-3 with two RBIs from the plate, Montalbano threw a complete-game shutout. He only surrendered four hits, he had no walks and he struck out five.

Also for the Lions, Bahlinger and Braud each went 2-4.

For Ascension Catholic, Charlie Genaloni had two of their four hits.