Bulldogs off to Sulphur with dominating sweep

Kyle Riviere
Charlie Gianelloni (left), Jacob Dunn (center) and William Dunn (right) celebrate after the Bulldogs' series win over Sacred Heart. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

Ever since Ascension Catholic lost a heartbreaking 11-inning thriller to Central Catholic in last year’s semifinal, they’ve been on a mission to return to Sulphur.

It has all come full circle.

The Bulldogs played some of their best baseball of the year last week as they easily swept sixth-seeded Sacred Heart by a combined score of 22-2 to punch their ticket to the State Baseball Tournament. For the second year in a row, they are two victories away from a state title.

Ascension Catholic clinched the quarterfinal series victory on Friday evening as they shook off a 1-0 first-inning deficit to score 10 unanswered runs in what became a 10-1 win. Eight of those runs came in the fifth inning alone.

“They came out with a little emotion in the first inning and were able to scratch a run,” Bulldog head coach Todd Landry said. “I thought our guys did a great job of not panicking in that first inning and only giving up one run. They scratched a couple of runs in the second and the third.

“The fifth inning was set up by some great execution. We swung the bats well, got some bunts down, and that’s been the recipe for us winning all year.”

Against starting pitcher Tre’ Medine, Sacred Heart opened the first inning with three hits and one run to take an early lead.

Ascension Catholic tied the game in the second.

JB Broussard was hit by a pitch, and both Medine and Brock Acosta singled to load the bases. Jacob Dunn then came up with an RBI walk.

In the third, the Bulldogs were able to take a 2-1 lead. Mason Zeringue led the inning off with a single, and he eventually scored on a sac grounder by Charlie Gianelloni.

Ascension Catholic put the game away in the fifth with an eight-run explosion.

Zeringue led off with a double, and Rodney Blanchard joined him on base with an infield single. Zeringue then scored on a single by Gianelloni, and an Acosta bunt single loaded the bases.

Broussard then came up with a two-RBI double. Medine followed with an RBI double of his own.

To close out the scoring, Acosta came home on a passed ball, and Dunn produced a sac grounder to push the advantage to 8-1.

In the sixth, Zeringue scored on a wild pitch, and in the seventh, Dunn came up with another sac grounder to give Ascension Catholic the dominating sweep.

From the plate, Acosta went 3-4. Zeringue went 2-3 and scored three runs.

Gianelloni, Broussard and Dunn all had two RBIs. Medine went 2-3 with a walk and an RBI.

After giving up three hits in the first inning, Medine gave up just two for the rest of the contest as he finished off a complete game.

“Traditionally, Tre’ will come out a little slow in the first inning, but I don’t think that was a result of what happened today,” Landry said. “The first guy got a little tapped base hit; that happens. The next guy got a hit. Give them credit; they swung the bats well in that first inning, but I thought Tre’ did a really good job of settling down and really throwing well.”

The win awards the Bulldogs a second straight trip to the semifinals in Sulphur. This time, they’ll play second-seeded Ouachita Christian.

The Eagles are coming off of a 2-1 series victory over Catholic of Pointe Coupee.

The two teams met back on March 3. Ouachita Christian won that game by a score of 12-6.

“We felt like we went to Sulphur last year and left something out on the field. So, that’s been our motto all year: ‘Unfinished Business,’” Landry said. “We’re going there, and we’re going to try to win it. That’s been our goal since the beginning.”