Bulldogs beat Lions on walk-off home run
When Ascension Catholic and Ascension Christian met in their regular-season finale at La La Regira Field on Thursday evening, there were three runs, but none were more important than the last.
With the game knotted at 5-5 in the bottom of the seventh, Bulldog senior Mason Zeringue stepped to the plate as the leadoff hitter, and with one swing, he ended the game. His solo home run over the wall at left-center gave Ascension Catholic an exciting 6-5 walk-off victory.
"Mason has been swinging it well all year. That was a big spot against a good team," Bulldog head coach Todd Landry said. "They gave St. John fits, and they gave us fits. That's a team that's gonna go into the playoffs as a lower seed and have a chance to win some games. We battled through some big mistakes today. It's something that we've fought through all year, but this team finds a way to win in the end, and they did again today."
Ascension Catholic began the game just like they ended it: with a home run.
Leadoff batter Jacob Dunn jacked a solo homer over the leftfield wall to give Ascension Catholic a quick 1-0 lead.
Zeringue walked, and Rodney Blanchard joined him on base with a single. JB Broussard then reached base and Zeringue scored following an Ascension Christian throwing error.
Blanchard and Broussard were then sent home when Tre' Medine laced a double against the wall at left-center. That hit gave the Bulldogs a 4-0 lead.
But the Lions cut it in half in the top of the second inning.
Andrew Landry drew a two-outs walk, Sal Montalbano reached base on a Bulldog throwing error and Tristan Trahan walked to load the bases.
Nic Montalbano then drove in two runs with a double.
In the bottom of the second, both Parker Hales and Dunn walked for Ascension Catholic. Hales eventually scored on a sac fly by Zeringue to extend the lead to 5-2.
With two outs in the top of the third, Blanchard's outing ended from the mound. In came Sam Mire for the Bulldogs, and he quickly fell into trouble.
He gave up three straight hits--one of which was an RBI single by Landry to cut the deficit to 5-3.
That's when Hunter Walker took the mound for Ascension Catholic. He also had some early struggles.
In the top of the fourth, he gave up an infield single to Trahan. Nic Montalbano then blasted a two-run homer to tie the game.
But after the home run, Walker settled in and didn't allow a hit for the rest of the game. Ascension Christian reliever Hunter Jacobs also pitched well. He shut the Bulldogs down until the bottom of the seventh, when Zeringue ended the game with the walk-off homer.
Zeringue finished the day going 1-2 with a walk, a home run and two RBIs. Dunn was 1-3 with a walk and a homer.
The Lions were led by Nic Montalbano as he went 3-4 with a home run and four RBIs. Landry was 1-2 with a walk and a run batted in.
In relief, Walker pitched four and a third innings, only allowing two hits and two runs. He struck out five.
"Rodney struggled with getting behind a little bit. He hadn't pitched in a while, so we wanted to get him some work to start," Coach Landry said. "Sam came in, and they got some good swings on him, so Hunter came in, and I thought he pitched well. He was able to get ahead in the count, and he did a great job. He did exactly what we needed him to do. He gave us a chance to win."
After dropping four straight last week, the Bulldogs ended the regular season with three consecutive victories.
"We went through a tough stretch as far as losses on the scoreboard, but we knew we were playing some really good teams," Coach Landry said. "We played the No. 1 team in Division III, the No. 7 team in 5A, the No. 11 team in Division II and we played St. John, the No. 4 team in Division IV. So, it's not like we were playing bad competition. We want our kids to be tested and not be able to get away with mistakes, and I think that has set us up going forward."