Cross river rival Tigers battle in district action

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By Trent Friedel, exclusive to the Times

Saint Mary’s baseball is hitting full stride in district action and has some good stats to brag about. The Tigers are the number 11 seed in current power rankings by the LHSAA and hold a 15 – 5 win-loss record. The hardwood basketball court action has yielded to spring weather and the sounds of baseballs snapping leather gloves and the ting of the bat on a hard-hit fastball. Coach Brooks McMinn has the complete squad now that basketball has finished. Saint Mary’s won all three games in the tournament they hosted March 15-16. They have beaten some solid teams and are contenders for a district title.

Brock Zeigler leads the team in batting average with a .480 and 16 RBI’s. Tate Nelson follows with a .390 and 18 RBI’s while last year standout Stephen Mayeaux is close behind with a .383 batting average and the same 18 RBI’s. Patrick Vienne is coach McMinn’s go to guy on the mound with a 4 – 1 record. I’m not allowed to tell you what his ERA is, but let’s just say it’s good, REAL good. I can, however, tell you that he has a fastball that consistently tops 80 mph on the radar gun.

Anthony Lirette is 2 – 0 on the mound and Evan Gandy also has two wins at the pitching position. William Broadway has three saves on the season coming out of the bullpen in relief. Saint Mary’s beat Montgomery 8 – 2 earlier in the week before heading down to Opelousas and delivering a 12 – 2 whipping.

Montgomery came to Cracker Brown field to try and avenge the loss earlier in the week. They started off well taking full advantage of Zeagler who struggled in early action. Logan Graves was issued a walk to start things in the first inning and Zeagler issued two more to load the bases. The first run for Montgomery came on a single to right and the bases remained loaded with no outs. Two fly balls are reined in by Saint Mary’s before another run scores on a single up the middle of the infield.

Zeagler walked in the next run and then settled in to end the inning. Montgomery got three runs on two hits and stranded three runners. Saint Mary’s nearly got all those runs back in the bottom of the frame. Fidelak reaches base by being hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a steal. He would score from second on a single to center field by Mayeaux. Mayeaux scored shortly after on a double by Chris Lirette. Two runs on two hits has the home Tiger’s trailing by one run. Zeagler retires the side to open the second. Saint Mary’s goes down in order also. The difficult first inning for Zeagler has him replaced by Gandy. Gandy does just dandy issuing up a ground out, a strike out and then another is called out stealing second.

In the bottom of the third, St. Mary’s hits a dinger to deep left center field that is misplayed. The Montgomery misplay results in an inside the park home run to tie the score. That was all Saint Mary’s could get in the way of runs in the inning. Gandy retires the side in order again in the top of the fourth. Saint Mary’s explodes at the plate in the bottom of the inning. Mayeaux reaches second after a hitting a single to the short stop who commits a throwing error to first. Broadway lays down an excellent bunt and is safe at first, runners on the corners and no outs.

Vienne reaches second on an error by the right fielder who can’t catch a ball that is right in the sun. One run across and runners on second and third with no outs. 4 – 3 Saint Mary’s. Luke Gallien doubles to score two more runs. Fidelak lays down a sac bunt to advance Gallien to third, one out. Bankston singles to left and Gallien scores. Bankston steals second and advances to third on a single by the next batter. Bankston scores on a sac fly by Zeagler, two outs. Noah Heard singles and records an RBI. Heard scores on an RBI single by Tate Nelson. Nelson advances to third on a pitch in the dirt. Tate scores on a single by Broadway who advances to second and would score also. Wow! I think I lost track, but it was 9 runs in the inning and Saint Mary’s goes up 12 – 3. A lead off double by LaCaze has Montgomery hoping they can get some runs back in the fifth. He steals third on pitch in the dirt and scores on a single by #14 Lashley. Zito singles over first and that has runners on the corners with no outs.

Carter is hit by pitch and the bases are loaded. One more run would score on a balk by Gandy on the mound, 12 – 5 now. Saint Mary’s would score a run in the bottom of the inning. Graeme Fidelak gets on base when hit by pitch and advances the base paths. 13 – 5 after five. Gandy issues a walk to start the sixth then settles in and strikes out two. LaCaze gets on after being hit by pitch, runners on first and second, two outs. #18 Zito singles over third base scoring one run. A single to right scores another and then the bases are loaded after another batter is hit by a pitch. A run scores on a pitch that misses its mark and goes to the back stop.

Montgomery scores three runs and strands two on base. Saint Mary’s tries to add insurance runs in the bottom of the inning. The home Tigers would get the bases loaded with two outs and then can not get any runs. Broadway gets closing duties to start the seventh with a 13 – 8 Saint Mary’s advantage. Broadway strikes out the first batter he faces. The second batter reaches base on a bunt.

That base runner is sent to the dugout after Chris Lirette throws him out attempting to steal second base. Broadway seals the deal for Saint Mary’s as the final out is recorded and the Tigers win 13 – 8.