Bulldogs roll their way to Sulphur
The last two years, Ascension Catholic has been forced to watch opposing teams celebrate on their home field as they punched their ticket to Sulphur for the state tournament.
There was no way the Bulldogs were going to sit through that for a third straight season.
Behind their two LSU-Eunice signees, Ascension Catholic was able to dominate Catholic of Pointe Coupee from start to finish and steamroll to a 10-1 victory that pushed them through to the semifinals after falling in the quarterfinals for three straight seasons.
From the plate, Nick Bellina hit a grand slam in the fourth inning that put the game away, and from the mound, ace Landon Clifton only surrendered four hits and one run.
"It's a great feeling," Ascension Catholic head coach Todd Landry said. "For three years, we knew what it was like to lose this game and feel the heartbreak of not being able to move on. "This team set a goal from the beginning that we wanted to get there, but our goal wasn't just to get there. We feel like we have a good enough team to give them a run in Sulphur as well. This team has bigger goals, but right now, I want them to enjoy this, and we'll get back to work tomorrow."
Scoreless in the bottom of the second, Ross Ponville reached base following a Hornet fielding error, and Rodney Blanchard joined him after being hit by a pitch.
Ponville was then driven home on a single by William Dunn, and Blanchard scored after a balk was called.
Leading 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth, Ascension Catholic put the game away with a six-run inning.
Ponville once again got on leadoff following a fielding error, and Charlie Gianelloni came up with a bunt single.
Blanchard sent Ponville home on a grounder, Dunn walked and Ian Simoneaux collected an RBI single.
Mason Zeringue then walked to load the bases for Bellina. Bellina then crushed a grand slam over the leftfield wall to give Ascension Catholic a dominating 8-1 lead.
The Bulldogs added two more runs in the sixth with an RBI double by Zeringue and an RBI single by Clifton.
In the victory, Clifton struck out nine batters.
Bellina went 1-4 with the grand slam and four RBIs. Zeringue was 1-3 with a walk and an RBI.
With the victory, Ascension Catholic now advances to Sulphur for the semifinals, where they'll play top-seeded and defending Class 1A state champions Central Catholic next Wednesday evening.