Gators cruise over Bulldogs in parish clash
Last season, Ascension Catholic played one of the Class 5A heavyweights of Ascension Parish and came up with a 1-0 upset win over Dutchtown.
In their season opener on Tuesday night, they tried to duplicate that performance against St. Amant, but the Gators were ready.
Coming off of a 15-5 loss to Sulphur in their season opener the night before, St. Amant looked sharp at home as they produced 11 hits and only allowed the Bulldogs to collect three of their own.
It all equated to a dominating 10-1 victory for the Gators, the first under new head coach Brandon Bravata.
“We didn’t play very well yesterday, but I’m super proud with how they responded," Bravata said. "After yesterday, a lot of teams would have been down and wouldn’t have come back with the competitive spirit that we had tonight. I’m happy with how they came back and really showed some fight and played really well.”
The game was scoreless until the bottom of the second, when Lathan Bourgeois reached base on a fielder's choice. Brayden Kuriger then singled into center. Jai Williams let the ball get past him, allowing Bourgeois to score.
Kuriger eventually came home following a base hit by Blake Rambin to make it 2-0.
Ascension Catholic scored their only run in the top of the third.
Layton Meloncon led off with an infield single, and he was eventually sent home with a base hit by Jacob Dunn to trim the deficit to 2-1.
But St. Amant took command in the bottom of the fourth.
Lee Amedee drew a leadoff walk, and Bourgeois joined him on base with a double. Amedee then scored on a wild pitch.
Kuriger reached base on a fielder's choice, and he eventually scored on a triple from Rambin. Rambin then scored when catcher Lex Meloncon dropped a pitch and couldn't find the ball. That gave the Gators a comfortable 5-1 lead after four.
They put the game out of reach in the fifth.
Reese Lipoma led off with a triple and came around to score after a throwing error to third. Slade Zeppuhar walked and later scored on another Bulldog throwing error.
To end the inning, Bourgeois produced an RBI double, and Kuriger drove in a run with a single to make it 9-1.
The Gators scored their final run in the bottom of the sixth when Bourgeois came up with an RBI single to make it 10-1.
“I told my guys that that’s a good baseball team over there," Bravata said. "We had to earn a victory. You can never underestimate those guys, and I don’t think we did that tonight. I thought we came out and played like it was our last game.”
St. Amant's Dylan Mabile earned the victory from the mound, pitching five complete innings and only yielding three hits and one run.
From the plate, Bourgeois went 3-4 with two RBIs. Rambin was 2-2 with two RBIs, and Kuriger was 2-3 and drove in a run.
The Bulldogs were led by Dunn as he went 1-3 with a walk. He drove in their only run of the game.
“I’m a little concerned with our pitching staff right now, but we did throw strikes today," Bravata said. "That was our Achilles heel in the preseason. If we have guys that are gonna throw strikes, I think we’re gonna be ok offensively.
"It was really awesome out here tonight with the atmosphere. You had two Ascension Parish teams going at it. I thought it was a great crowd, and I’m just really excited to be here at St. Amant.”