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Two years ago, the Bulldogs claimed a state title

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Unfortunately, due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus, the remainder of the high-school baseball season was cancelled, including the state tournament in Sulphur.

Ascension Catholic will not have the opportunity to win their second state title in three years.

It was two years ago that the Bulldogs won a thriller over St. John to claim their first state championship in 24 seasons. They pulled that off on May 11, 2018.

Here's a look back at that special spring day for Ascension Catholic:

Bulldogs beat district rival St. John to claim state title

Three was the magic number for Ascension Catholic on Friday night.

In their third game of the season against district rival St. John, the Bulldogs battled back from a 2-0 sixth-inning deficit to earn a scintillating 4-3 victory. The win captured Ascension Catholic their third-ever baseball state title.

"I'm so proud of this team," Bulldog head coach Todd Landry said. "We lost to these guys twice during the regular season. They're a hell of a team. Hats off to St. John, but our guys battled their tails off all year. For the last 23-24 games, they have played outstanding baseball, and I cannot be more happy for a group of kids."

St. John had been a thorn in Ascension Catholic's side the past two seasons. The Bulldogs had lost four straight against the Eagles.

Two of those four losses came this season by a combined score of 17-8. It yielded a second straight District 6-1A title to St. John and forced Ascension Catholic to settle for second.

Things looked like they were headed that way again during Friday night’s Division-IV title game in Sulphur.

In the top of the first, the Bulldogs loaded the bases when Williams Dunn walked and both Rodney Blanchard and Charlie Gianelloni were hit by pitches.

However, all three runners ended the inning stranded on base.

Meanwhile, in the bottom of the first, Collin Barbee picked up a two-outs single against Blanchard, and Landon LeBlanc joined him on base following a throwing error.

Adam Theriot then sent both runners home with a single. It put Ascension Catholic in a quick 2-0 hole.

This deficit lasted until the top of the sixth inning. Heading into the frame, the Bulldogs had just one hit.

Mason Zeringue provided a spark for the Ascension Catholic offense as he led off with a single.

Zeringue eventually scored on a double by Gianelloni. Gianelloni later scored on a passed ball to tie the game.

To end the inning, the Bulldogs took their first lead on an RBI single by Tre’ Medine.

Although, St. John tied the game in the bottom of the sixth.

Justin Rivet led off with a single. He was eventually able to score on a Bulldog fielding error.

That's when Gianelloni took over on the mound for Ascension Catholic. He closed out the inning for the Bulldogs.

In the top of the seventh, Dunn walked. It set the stage for a clutch single by Blanchard.

It went just deep enough into right field to allow Dunn to race home in his pair of P.F. Flyers to give the Bulldogs a 4-3 advantage.

With the lead, Gianelloni closed out the game from the mound. He ended up pitching one and two-third innings of shutout baseball.

He was also 1-3 with an RBI from the plate. This led to him being named the game’s Most Outstanding Player. It was the perfect way for him to end his high-school career.

”He has just been a warrior for us all year. He's done a tremendous job both on the mound and from the plate," Landry said. "There was no one else I wanted on the mound with the game on the line than Charlie Gianelloni. He earned that spot, and I knew he was going to be able to get it done. Watching him go up there and do that, I enjoyed every second of it."

Blanchard went five and a third innings, only giving up six hits. All three runs scored against him were unearned.

Brock Acosta was the only player in the game with multiple hits. He went 2-3.

Making improbable comebacks was nothing new for the Bulldogs.

"They've done this a lot this year. We haven't jumped out to big leads in all our games," Landry said. "This group has been resilient. When they fall behind, they don't panic. They keep pressing, and they play our game. It's been a season of this. It's been a great ride, and for it to culminate in this for those kids, I couldn't be more proud."

This is Ascension Catholic’s first state title since 1994.

The Bulldogs finished the year with an overall record of 28-9. After beginning the season at just 6-8, Ascension Catholic went an amazing 22-1 in their final 23 games.