Destrehan had the pitching and defense all season. Toward the end of the regular season, its bats started to heat up.
And in round one of the Class 5A playoffs, a complete team went on the road to Airline – and has punched its ticket to round two.
The17th seeded Wildcats got a gem of a performance from Noah Simon on the mound while he, Shane Lee and Keston Granier powered the offense in a 4-0 victory over No. 16 Airline.
“It was who was gonna strike first,” said Destrehan head coach Chris Mire. “We knew what their guy wanted to do from what we had scouted on them. He (White) was commanding the outside corner of the plate with fastball change-up and getting weak contact the first time through the order. Shane Lee, who’s been unreal this season, hit the first hard hit ball of the day with two outs, Noah followed him with a double, and then Keston Granier, who’s been our hottest hitter over the last three weeks had a clutch hit to drive in two. Once we made our adjustment, I felt like we controlled the game from there on.”
Destrehan (21-13) moves on to round two to face No. 1 Barbe (32-2) in a best-of-three series hosted by Barbe. That series will begin Friday at 6 p.m., with a doubleheader (if necessary) Saturday beginning at noon.
Simon allowed just four hits and struck out eight in a complete game shutout. At the plate, he went 2-for-3.
“The story of the day was Noah Simon,” Mire said. “He was a little excited the first two innings and was missing up in the zone, but they were unable to capitalize. From the third inning on, he was locating his fastball and throwing his cutter to both sides of the plate and when he’s able to do that he’s really tough. The defense played great behind him and Jayse DeGruy was a wall behind the plate.”
Granier went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored. Lee was 1-for-3 with a run scored.
The Wildcats got to Airline (18-14) starting pitcher Carter White in the fourth and seventh innings, scoring two runs in each, the only runs of the evening.
The game was scoreless through three innings and looked to be trending that way in the fourth, but with two outs Destrehan began to rally in its half of the frame. Lee singled with two outs to get DHS started. Simon stepped to the plate and hit a double to set Destrehan up with two on in scoring position.
That brought up Granier, who worked the count to 3-2 before smashing a single up the middle to bring home both runners, giving Destrehan the lead.
In the seventh, the Wildcats generated some breathing room. Granier singled and Cristian Ricks walked, as did Walker Dew to load the bases. With two outs, Jonah Haslauer hit a ball on the ground and reached on an error, as two more runs came around to score to make it 4-0.
Finding a way to generate offense against the left-handed White was the chief concern for the Wildcats entering the game, but just as they have in most of their biggest games down the stretch, they found a way.
“We were told he was gonna stay away, away, and more away. They play in a big park and we’ve kind of been reliant on extra base hits offensively,” said Mire. “We preached all week about not slowing our bats down, not just swinging to swing, and being disciplined in our approach. He definitely made it tough early, but our guys eventually made their adjustment and we handled him from there.”