The Destrehan baseball team, which was already off to its best start in four years, put up an impressive showing at the Jay Patterson Memorial Tournament by going 3-1 with victories over some of the top teams in the area.
The Wildcats knocked off previously undefeated Brother Martin 7-0 and then cruised past Rummel by an identical 7-0 score. Destrehan stumbled a bit in an 8-2 loss to Jesuit, but then righted the ship by blowing out Shaw 15-4.
With the victories, Destrehan is currently 12-2 on the season and is now sitting at No. 2 in the Class 5A power rankings, trailing only Barbe. Wildcat head coach Marty Luquet said he is not surprised by what his team has been able to accomplish so far this season.
"We felt like if we put in some hard work in the weight room, we had a chance to be real good," he said. "Our success during the summer with our American Legion team answered a lot of questions, so we are not terribly surprised. I donít know if we thought we would be 12-2 at this point though."
In the opening game of the tournament, Destrehan rode an electric pitching performance from Blake Hymel to a big win over Brother Martin. Hymel pitched all seven innings for the Wildcats and scattered six hits while striking out nine in the shutout.
Most of Destrehanís offensive firepower came from outfielder Sam Steib, who went 3-for-4 with six RBIs.
In the following game against Rummel, it was pitcher Kade Granier who stood out. Though Luquet said the senior didnít have his best stuff, he battled throughout the game and gave up only five hits in the shutout. Catcher Tanner Hayes also stepped up with a 3-for-3 performance that increased his season batting average to around .500.
After suffering a loss to Jesuit, Destrehanís offense responded in the final tourney game against Shaw by recording 13 hits. Ryan Brewer had two of those hits and hit his first home run of the season, a three-run shot that helped put Shaw away. Pitcher Austin McDonald was excellent in a relief role, pitching five scoreless innings and giving up only two hits.
Itís that depth at pitcher that has been the key to Destrehanís success so far.
"Our pitching staff has stepped up with Granier, Hymel and Brewer leading the charge," Luquet said. "We also have good depth that really helps us in these tournaments. We are able to use Jesse Bryant, Hunter Abadie and Austin McDonald to pick up other games for us. All of those guys have won games in relief."
Though Luquet has been impressed by his teamís performance so far, he knows that it is still early in the season. But playing such a tough schedule should help Destrehan when the playoffs roll around.
"This is certainly a great start and it is still awful early, but in the back of your mind you are always thinking about quality wins," Luquet said. "We are trying to play teams right now that will win a lot of games to put us in a good position for the postseason.
This weekend, Destrehan will take part in the Gerard Oubre Memorial Tournament that will be held at Destrehan and Hahnville. For a schedule of the games, see page 1B.