It's tough knocking off the defending district champions. It's even tougher when you give them some help.

It’s tough knocking off the defending district champions. It’s even tougher when you give them some help.

In a matchup with sole possession of first place in league play hanging in the balance, Ascension Catholic piled up eight hits and eight runs against St. John.

But on the flip side, they committed three costly errors in the fifth inning that gave way to eight Eagle runs. For the rest of the game, they were forced to play catch-up. The contest ended with a 13-8 home loss.

"We walked too many people. We gave too many free passes and had a few key errors, and they swung the bat well. You have to give them credit,” Bulldog head coach Todd Landry said.

Ascension Catholic struck first.

Mason Zeringue got on base with a fielder’s choice and eventually scored on a sac fly by Charlie Gianelloni to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 first-inning lead.

But St. John responded in the second.

Leadoff hitter Ben Bucher was hit by a pitch, and he came home to score on a triple by Justin Rivet. Rivet eventually scored on a passed ball to give the Eagles a 2-1 advantage.

This score remained until a wild, marathon fifth inning that resulted in fifteen combined runs.

In the top of the inning, St. John started things off with a walk and back-to-back RBI doubles.

Ascension Catholic then committed back-to-back fielding errors. One resulted in an Eagle scoring.

Adam Theriot then walked to load the bases. Another walk by Josh Carbo scored a run, and another Bulldog fielding error scored another.

The frame ended with a three-RBI double by Collin Barbee that put St. John ahead by a score of 10-1.

But the Bulldogs answered right back with a flurry of their own at the bottom of the inning.

Tre’ Medine and Brock Acosta had back-to-back infield singles to start the inning, and the bases were loaded with a walk by Jacob Dunn.

William Dunn then came up with an RBI single. This was followed by an RBI single by Rodney Blanchard and an RBI walk by Zeringue.

Gianelloni came up with another sac fly, and John Mire reached base with a St. John fielding error. This error allowed yet another Bulldog runner to score.

Medine then walked to load the bases. This gave way to back-to-back walks by Acosta and Hales to score runs and cut the deficit to 10-8.

"The fifth was really a nightmare for both teams,” Landry said. “They got eight, and then we came back and got seven. It was just crazy. It was a typical Ascension Catholic vs. St. John game. It just seems like every year when we get together, it's exciting, and it was again tonight."

Ascension Catholic had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth as they put two runners on base, but the threat ended when St. John turned a double-play.

St. John put the game away in the top of the seventh.

With the bases loaded, Bucher came up with a sac fly, and Rivet sent two more runners home on a double. It gave the Eagles a 13-8 lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.

In the loss, Zeringue led the way from the plate for Ascension Catholic as he went 2-3 with a walk and an RBI. Blanchard and William Dunn were both 2-4 with an RBI apiece.

Bulldog pitching had no answer for Rivet—who went 3-4 with a walk and three RBIs.

The loss was the fourth straight for Ascension Catholic after starting the season with a 6-3 record.

"The recipe for us winning early in the year was playing error-free baseball and getting excellent starting pitching,” Landry said. “Our pitchers were going into the sixth and seventh innings, and we were executing on offense. We were getting base-hits and not getting thrown out. We were doing the little things really well.

“It seems like when you struggle, all those things really stand out, but those things cost you to lose. We weren't making those mistakes during the first nine games. We just have to find a way to work ourselves out of it."