Heartbreaking defeat ends Destrehan season

Special to the Herald-Guide
May 26, 2009 at 2:39 pm  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

When the Wildcats handed Dutchtown only its second 6-5A loss in the regular season finale, the Griffins scored five runs in the seventh to make the final margin interesting.

In the Class 5A state quarterfinals Friday, Dutchtown (31-5) scored five runs in the final two innings, only this time those runs end the Wildcats' season with a heartbreaking 5-4 defeat.

All season long, Luquet said the Wildcats relied on strong pitching and timely hitting to win ball games, but Friday, Dutchtown got the better of the Wildcats' rotation in the final two frames just as Destrehan did in the game's first five innings.

Destrehan's bats found life against Dutchtown ace and Southern Mississippi signee Dillon Day for the first time this season as the Wildcats scored two during the game's opening frame.

In two previous starts against Destrehan, Day pitched 14 shutout innings allowing just four hits.

In the first inning Friday, senior Shaine Babineaux led off with a single, and Destrehan was able to capitalize on a rare Day series of errors and miscues. Junior Sam Carriere's bunt attempt was misplayed by Day, putting Wildcats on first and second.

Both advanced on a wild pitch, and Babineaux plated the game's first run on another wild pitch.

With one out, junior Kurt McCune knocked in the game's second run with an RBI single. Senior Joshua Rochelle followed with a hit, but Day retired the next two batters to end the inning.

The Wildcats threatened in the second, as Babineaux and Carriere both singled with two outs, but senior Patrick Roth struck out to end the inning.

The Wildcats extended their lead to 4-0 in the fourth inning. Junior Matt Smith belted a leadoff single and stole second base. Senior Hunter Tyree struck out but reached on Day's wild pitch while Smith went to third.

Smith later scored on another Day wild pitch while Tyree moved to second and advanced to third on a passed ball. Tyree scored on a Babineaux ground out.

While the Wildcats manufactured runs, Destrehan starter McCune cruised through five innings allowing just three hits and no runs, but the final two innings would be a nightmare for the Wildcats.

In the top of the sixth, Destrehan wasted a bases loaded scoring opportunity with a fly out to center.

In the Griffin sixth, Day led off with a single, and McCune hit Alex Millet to put two on with one out.

After issuing a walk to load the bases, Wesley Perkins belted a two-run single to right-center.

Tyree relieved McCune and induced a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning with Destrehan in the lead 4-2.

In the bottom of the seventh, Dutchtown lead off with back-to-back singles.

After a successful sacrifice bunt advanced the runners, Day was intentionally walked to load the bases.

Troy Lewis, who was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and had hit into a double play, hit a bases-clearing double in the right-center gap to end the game.

"Any time a team beats another team four times, you've got to think they deserve to advance," Luquet said. "They were a great ballclub, and that's why they were in the state championship game."

Tyree (5-4) took the loss for Destrehan, while Babineaux led the Wildcat offense with two hits and a RBI. McCune had a hit and a RBI, and five other Wildcats each had one hit.

With the loss, the Wildcats ended their season with a 23-13-1 overall record and a share of the District 6-5A title with a 13-2 district mark. Both district defeats came against Dutchtown.

"This team genuinely liked being around each other, and you could see that on the field," Luquet said. "They played hard every day, and I know each player wanted to win a state championship. These guys set the bar high for next year's team."

The 2009 Destrehan baseball team left an important mark on the school's athletic history, Luquet said.

After starting the season 3-9-1, they rallied to finish with 23 wins and a spot in the state tournament for the sixth time in eight years.

"When we started off the season 3-9, it was tough, but they never lost sight of the bigger picture," Luquet said. "We were playing good baseball, but we didn't get many breaks. Then, we won a couple, and it turned into a month of playing real good baseball. It was a lot of fun."

Offensively, senior Andrew Suffrin led the team with a .413 batting average while senior Patrick Roth recorded a .708 slugging percentage and a .525 on-base percentage.

McCune led the team in RBIs with 41 while he was tied for the team lead in home runs with Babineaux with seven each. Babineaux led the team in runs scored with 37.

On the mound, Rochelle led the team with 10 wins and a 2.55 earned run average. McCune had the most strikeouts with 72.

As for next season, the Wildcats will lose nine seniors to graduation including five who saw significant playing time either in the field or on the mound, but Luquet said he is confident the underclassmen will step up in 2010.

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