Bulldogs upset Gators in season opener
The last two times Ascension Catholic played 5A parish foe Dutchtown, the Bulldogs have pulled off upsets.
But the same couldn’t be said about St. Amant. Prior to Tuesday night, Ascension Catholic had lost to the Gators two years in a row.
That changed on opening night.
The Bulldogs went on the road on Tuesday and jumped out to a 2-0 lead. And even when the Gators tied it going into the seventh inning, Ascension Catholic made the plays when they needed them.
Brooks Leonard came up with an RBI double that gave the Bulldogs a 3-2 lead. They eventually held on to earn the big upset victory.
“We talked about maintaining composure. That’s a really good baseball team we just played. We never panicked, we minimized damage and we responded in the seventh,” Ascension Catholic head coach Gee Cassard said. “We got a guy on and got a big hit from Brooks, so I was proud of our maturity and the way we responded. We didn’t let the emotion of the game affect the outcome of an inning.”
The Bulldogs initially took the lead in the third inning.
Lex Melancon, Bryce Leonard and Jacques Husers all doubled in the frame. Leonard and Husers’ hits brought runs home to give the Bulldogs a 2-0 advantage.
St. Amant cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the fourth, when Brayden Billingsley produced an RBI double of his own.
Trailing, 2-1, in the bottom of the sixth, the Gators looked poised to take the lead as they loaded the bases with no outs. However, Layton Melancon came in, in relief for Ascension Catholic and found a way to escape the frame by giving up just one run.
That score was the result of an infield RBI single by Chase Kelly.
With the game tied in the top of the seventh, the Bulldogs’ Jake Landry got on base following a St. Amant fielding error. Landry was then driven home by Brooks Leonard’s double.
The Gators had their chances in the bottom of the seventh.
Lee Amedee led off with a single, but he was eventually picked off as he attempted to steal second.
Later, Layton Melancon walked two batters, but the Gators left both players stranded.
In the loss, Billingsley went 1-3 with a walk and an RBI, while Kelly was 1-3 with an RBI.
Bryce Leonard started the game from the mound for the Bulldogs and pitched six complete, surrendering just two hits and no earned runs. He struck out seven.
“For us, he’s going to be the No. 1. He always has good stuff,” Cassard said. “I was proud of him tonight because he really settled in and pitched. He didn’t try to overpower guys. He threw three pitches tonight, and he was effective. He was electric.”
At the plate, Brooks Leonard and Husers each went 2-4 with an RBI.
Since the start of last season, Ascension Catholic has now beaten five Class 5A teams.
“We’re a little Division-IV school, but we take pride in being as good of a baseball team as anybody,” Cassard said. “We believe that when we get on the field, we can beat anyone. St. Amant has a great program and great history. That was a great baseball game, and to be able to win a one-run game like that is huge for us. It’s a great way to start the season, and it’s going to give us momentum down the road.”