Destrehan falls short against Live Oak, battling string of strong opponents

Cole Moran of Destrehan delivers to home plate against Live Oak on Tuesday.

Destrehan struck early in its home game against surging Live Oak, chasing Eagles’ starting pitcher Drake Weller after taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning of play. But Live Oak answered immediately, plating three runs in the top of the second to take control of what became a 6-2 Eagles win.

Live Oak (13-2) called upon Renton Childers in relief – and Childers delivered, hurling six innings of two-hit ball and allowing no earned runs. He struck out eight and walked three as he earned the win.

The loss dropped Destrehan to 6-6 in what’s been a very challenging early season stretch of games. Destrehan head baseball coach Chris Mire said that’s by design – he said the Wildcats must continue to test themselves against the state’s best to get ready for the postseason, and the schedule reflects that philosophy.

“You aren’t going to draw a bad team in the playoffs,” Mire said. “We’re trying to push ourselves, give our players a chance to learn from mistakes.”

He spoke at length to his players after Tuesday’s loss, however, making it clear where he expects improvement: it has to start on the practice field.

“We continue to stress how important those things are … you can’t just be up on game day,” Mire said. “You have to be locked in at practice and then you really see the improvement.”

Offensively, Reid Broussard and Lane Lusk led the way for Live Oak, Broussard scoring twice and doubling while Lusk went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a walk.

John Carmichael led Destrehan at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a walk. Jonah Haslauer and Cristian Ricks each drove in runs for the Wildcats.

Four pitchers combined to complete the outing for Destrehan, Haslauer earning the bulk of the work in relief. He went 3.1 innings, allowing four runs (one earned) on three hits and a walk.

Destrehan got on the board after Haslauer walked with one out in the second inning to set things up for Carmichael, who socked a double to give his team a 1-0 lead.

Live Oak answered after a mistake by the Wildcats allowed Cam Christ to reach base after a dropped third strike and passed ball. A second error later in the inning brought the tying run home. A short time later, Hayden Everett hit a two-run double to plate Logan Coley and Jeff Swearingen, each of whom reached base earlier in the inning.

The Eagles added a fourth run in the third inning after Lusk singled home Broussard, who drew a leadoff walk. But Destrehan’s Noah Simon limited the damage to just the one run after his diving catch in centerfield resulted in two runners stranded for Live Oak.

“They had two in scoring position, so I knew I had to lay out and make a play for my team,” Simon said. “I just did what I had to do there.”

Destrehan looked to rally with two outs in the bottom of the fourth. Brady Mire reached on an error and Noah Simon drew a walk. Haslauer singled home Mire to make it 4-2, though Childers registered a strikeout to end the threat.

But Live Oak answered in their next chance to bat when Lusk drilled a RBI single to make it 5-2 in the fifth. It added an insurance run in the top of the seventh.

Mire said the Wildcats have to do a better job of making counter adjustments. Childers served up a steady stream of off-speed pitches and Mire said the Wildcats let too many go for strikes.

“Usually in the game of baseball, one team makes a move and the other counters. We never made that second move, and they just continued on with the gameplan, flipping us breaking balls for strikes,” Mire said. “If you can’t make them uncomfortable and force them to do something besides what they want to do, you’re probably not going to win,” Mire said.

But on the whole, he said he sees the Wildcats progressing well thus far through the first 12 games of the season. Destrehan has faced a slate of opponents including John Curtis, St. Charles Catholic, Belle Chasse, Ruston, West Monroe twice, Dutchtown, Shaw, Tioga and Captain Shreve.

“Outside of one game, we’ve given ourselves a chance each time out,” Mire said. “Our guys have fought hard. We created this schedule with the knowledge we may lose some games, but this is about measuring where we are come playoff time.”

Simon echoed those thoughts.

“It’s been a tough stretch, some really good teams we’ve gone against,” he said. “We have to keep working to try and win every inning and do the job.”

 

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