Ascension Catholic baseball headed to quarterfinals
The Ascension Catholic softball team has reached the quarterfinals six years in a row, and now, the baseball team is just one step behind.
On Saturday, the Bulldogs closed out St. Mary’s in their best-of-three regional series to punch their ticket to the state quarterfinals for a fifth straight season.
Ascension Catholic headed into the playoffs as one of the hottest teams in the state.
After suffering through a brutal stretch that saw them go 1-6, the Bulldogs caught fire and rattled off 17 straight victories to finish out the regular season. Included in this streak were wins against Central Catholic, Catholic of Pointe Coupee, Riverside of Class 2A and Berwick of Class 3A.
These impressive wins helped Ascension Catholic head into the Division-IV playoffs with the state’s No. 3 seeding.
They drew a regional matchup against a familiar face in 14th-seeded St. Mary’s. It was St. Mary’s the Bulldogs beat in last year’s regional round. They won that game by a score of 7-2.
However, this year, things are a little different. For the first time ever, the Division-IV playoffs have introduced the best-of-three series. Both the regional and quarterfinal will be decided in this format.
Game one was played at Ascension Catholic on Friday night, and the Bulldogs dominated due to the terrific performance on the mound by senior pitcher Charlie Gianelloni.
The Bulldogs’ offense wasn’t quite as potent as they had been down the stretch, but they didn’t have to be on Friday night. Gianelloni threw a complete-game shutout.
St. Mary’s fell victim to some crucial gaffes in the opening inning that put them behind, and they could never recover.
Mason Zeringue singled and eventually found his way to second base.
That’s when Rodney Blanchard struck out, but the third strike was dropped by the catcher. The throw was made to first to complete the out on Blanchard, but it was errant.
The miscue allowed Zeringue to come home and give Ascension Catholic a 1-0 lead.
They never looked back. They rolled in what became a 5-0 game-one victory.
In seven innings of work, Gianelloni allowed just two hits and no runs. He was perfect for five of the seven innings.
From the plate, Zeringue had the biggest night as he went 2-3 with two RBIs. He also scored two runs.
Gianelloni also did his part from the plate as he went 2-3 with an RBI.
John Broussard was 1-3, and William Dunn was 1-4 and scored a run.
Ascension Catholic tripped up in game two, losing by a score to 6-5. Though, the Bulldogs were able to bounce back and earn another 5-0 shutout victory that evening to pull off the sweep.
In the game-three, Blanchard threw a complete game from the mound. From the plate, Blanchard, Dunn and Zeringue all went 2-3.
The win will now pit them against sixth-seeded Sacred Heart in a best-of-three quarterfinal series.
Sacred Heart comes into the series with a record of 22-10. They have won eight straight and 10 of their last 11.
In their regional series, they swept 11th-seeded St. Martin’s Episcopal with wins of 3-0 and 16-1.
Ascension Catholic will be seeking a second straight trip to Sulphur for the state semifinals.