Bulldogs eliminated in the quarterfinals
Ascension Catholic was hoping that the third time would be the charm as they reached the state quarterfinals for a third straight season.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Saturday evening’s quarterfinal game ended the same way their previous two trips did: with a bitter season-ending defeat. This time, it was sixth-seeded Vermillion Catholic that eliminated them by a score of 6-1.
In last year’s tremendous playoff run, the Bulldogs hosted the quarterfinal game against Central Catholic and lost a 2-1 heartbreaker in extra innings.
Being so close to the final weekend seemed to be a springboard for Ascension Catholic heading into this season.
The Bulldogs finished the regular season with an 18-8 record. That solid mark included a perfect 10-0 record in district play, which resulted in a district title.
Ascension Catholic entered the playoffs as the No. 3 seed in the state, and they justified that ranking in the first two rounds. They beat Beekman Charter and Ascension Episcopal by a combined margin of 25-2 to reach the quarterfinals.
Once again, they were able to host the quarterfinal game, just one victory away from the Baseball State Tournament in Sulphur.
To go with the homefield advantage, Ascension Catholic had their ace on the mound. Well-rested All-State pitcher Landon Clifton was able to start the game after David Grior stepped up and carried the load in the victory over Ascension Episcopal.
The Bulldogs drew first blood as they took a 1-0 first-inning lead. Unfortunately for Ascension Catholic, from then on, it was all Eagles.
Vermillion Catholic tied the game in the second and took a 2-1 lead after three.
In the fourth inning, the Eagles took complete control. They scratched three runs to jump out to a commanding 5-1 advantage.
They added another run in the fifth, and the Bulldogs could never recover.
Eagle pitcher Gage Trahan was dominant. He held Ascension Catholic to just four hits, the one run and two walks. He struck out eight Bulldog batters.
Clifton uncharacteristically struggled on the mound for the Bulldogs. In addition to the six runs, Vermillion Catholic piled up 11 hits.
Gage Trahan, Emile Trahan and Jacob Sagrera were lethal for the Eagles. They combined for nine of the 11 hits, and they drove in four of the six runs.
It certainly didn’t help that Ascension Catholic committed two errors from the field.
As for the Bulldog bats, Mason Zeringue was the only Ascension Catholic player to collect multiple hits. He went 2-4. Clifton went 1-4 with the team’s lone RBI.
With the victory, Vermillion Catholic punched their ticket to the semifinals to play seventh-seeded Oak Grove.
Ascension Catholic’s season will end with an overall record of 20-9.