By Trent Friedel, exclusive to the Times
Saint Mary’s Tiger baseball has been struggling as of late and needs to win out in their last few games to make the playoffs. Cedar Creek came to town Saturday and the Cougars looked to spoil the day for the Tiger’s on prom night. The weather preceding the game required all hands on deck and hours of work to ensure a playable field. Another Friday night of severe storms rolled through and dropped rain on an already fragile field but the Tiger family made things work out. Cedar Creek would strike first and put two runs across in the top of the first inning. The Tigers followed suit with two runs of their own. The top of the third produced no runs for the Cougars and Zach White settled into his pitching duties. The bottom of the frame was the breakout the Tigers needed to energize a team that has taken its fair share of lumps.
White and Stephen Mayeux would have early hits in the inning and things just kept going for the Tigers. Two runs score early and runners are on the corners for Tate Nelson. He grounds out to third but the runner on first advances to second base. Jay Parker singles to short center and two more runs score making it 6-2 in favor of Saint Mary’s. Graeme Fidelak gets on base on balls and Parker Bankston is at the plate. Bankston singles over the first baseman down the line to load the bases. White is at the plate again in the inning and he knocks a stand up double to center. White is awarded three RBI’s as all runs advance for scores. Mayeux ends the inning, but the Tigers get seven runs across and take a 9-2 lead. In the top of the fourth, Cedar Creek scores one run.
The first two batters were retired on fly balls before #2 singles. He would later score as the third out was registered on a runner trying to take second and was thrown out. The Tigers are unable to add runs in the bottom of the inning after Bienvenu doubles off the left center wall. Bienvenu would get caught stealing and the inning would end with no runs for the Tigers. The fifth inning would start with an out for the Cougars then a walk is issued. The second out is like the first on a fly out. #14 for Cedar Creek singles to left center and the base runner advances. That play is followed by a single to left center and one run scores. It would be the only run in the inning for Cedar Creek on two hits. In the bottom of the inning Nelson is issued a walk being hit by a pitch.
Parker lays down a well placed sacrifice bunt along the first base line to advance Nelson to second. Nelson reaches third on a ground ball that gets the out at first. Two outs and one on for the Tigers with Bankston in the batter’s box. Bankston reaches first and advances to second on a throwing error while Nelson scores from third base. White keeps the two out rally going with a single through the short stop third base gap and Bankston scores from second. Mayeux grounds out as the next batter to end the inning but the Tigers have added some insurance runs and the score stands at 11-4.
Saint Mary’s gets two outs early in the top of the sixth but Cedar Creek attempts to get their own two out rally working. #2 doubles off the deep centerfield green monster and that would be the end of pitching duties for White. He goes 5 and two-thirds innings allowing only 4 runs before the ball is placed in Chris Lirette’s hand. Brown flies out to the short stop and the Cougars strand one runner. In the bottom of the inning, Bienvenu reaches base on a hit to the short stop. Lirette hits a ground ball to short and Beinvenu advances to second base on the out. Brock Zeagler goes down swinging but the ball is in the dirt and the catcher has to get him out with a throw down to first and Beinvenu advances to third base with two outs.
Nelson strikes out swinging and Saint Mary’s strands one base runner. In the top of the seventh, the Tigers have a seven-run lead and only needs three outs to secure the victory. One cougar reaches on an error by Nelson at second base. The base runner would be the only one allowed as the Tigers get the necessary outs and head to prom with a victory in their tuxedo pocket. Saint Mary’s returns to action against Natchitoches Central then will host Block in a make-up double header Friday and celebrate senior day.