Destrehan got off to a fast start on Friday in more ways than one.
A four-run first inning in the opening game of its Class 5A second round series against visiting No. 26 St. Amant spurred No. 10 Destrehan to an eventual 6-1 victory, giving the Wildcats a quick 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.
The question for Destrehan (23-9) entering the game would be the availability and effectiveness of its frontline pitchers, after the Wildcats utilized three pitchers to earn a 3-2, 11-inning first round win over Ouachita on Tuesday, including top starters T.J. Thomas and Joshua MacCord for a combined nine innings.
But Gage Harding started Friday and allowed one unearned run and two hits over three innings, earning the win and setting the table for Thomas to return and throw four scoreless, two hit innings. He struck out seven batters and walked one.
Five Destrehan players were able to post two hits or more, led by Wildcats leadoff hitter Ahman Morris’ 3-for-4 day with a run scored. Avery Schexnaydre, Thomas, Nathan Rhodes and Dylan Weber each collected two hits, with Weber driving in 3 RBIs.
While Destrehan took the win, the Gators took the day’s first lead when Lathan Bourgeois knocked in Alex LeBourgeois on a sacrifice fly in the first inning.
Destrehan tied things up in the bottom of the first after Morris doubled and Schexnaydre singled, setting up a Thomas bunt single and RBI that made it 1-1.
Max Jacob singled home another run on a line drive to right, then Thomas followed on a fielding error. Weber followed up Thomas’ RBI single on a bunt with one of his own to make it 4-1, plating Jacob.
Weber followed up by driving in the next two runs of the game in the sixth inning, doing so with two outs and scoring Michael Mollere and Nathan Rhodes.
The series is a rematch of last year’s opening round matchup, in which St. Amant upset Destrehan, 5-0, in a single-elimination game.
Destrehan will host games two and three (if necessary) tomorrow, with first pitch of game two set for noon. Game 3 would follow shortly after. The winner of the series will advance to face the 5A quarterfinals and face the winner of the series between No. 2 Sam Houston and No. 15 Denham Springs.