With Tuesday’s 8-5 road win against East St. John, the Destrehan baseball team is guaranteed a spot in the 2009 state playoffs.
According to head coach Marty Luquet, his team’s recent run of 15 wins in 16 games is a product of improved hitting and continued pitching dominance.
“Even during the tough stretch earlier this season, our pitching was good,” he said. “We just weren’t doing what we need to do offensively. The pitching hasn’t changed, but now we are just swinging the bat with a little more confidence.”
Against East St. John, the Wildcats (18-10-1, 10-1 6-5A) pounded out eight runs on 11 hits as Destrehan put up three spots in the third and fifth innings. The Cats added two more runs in the sixth.
Senior Andrew Suffrin led the offensive charge with three hits and three RBIs. He also scored twice. Destrehan batters drew nine walks in the game.
On the mound, junior Kurt McCune got the win but struggled a bit, by his standards. He threw five innings giving up four runs on six hits while walking three. He also struck out six. Senior Hunter Tyree pitched the final two innings.
Tuesday’s win comes on the heels of a 6-2 home victory against East St. John Saturday and two wins (13-1 and 4-0) against St. Amant last week.
Tyree got the complete game, three-hit victory against East St. John Saturday. He also had two hits and three RBIs. Senior Patrick Roth continued his hot hitting with three hits including a solo home run, his fourth homer of the season, and two RBIs.
The Wildcats also are receiving recognition in the Louisiana Baseball Coaches Association’s Class 5A poll as they are now ranked eighth in the state and will advance to the playoffs for the eighth straight year under Luquet, who said his team will be focused on East Ascension.
“To have a chance to win the district, we have to take care of the East Ascension series,” he said. “My players have a pretty good grasp of what is going on.”
Destrehan has now swept the season series with Hahnville, St. Amant and East St. John in district play and remain tied for the district lead with Dutchtown, who the Wildcats will face in the final two games of the regular season.
After four innings Tuesday against Dutchtown, the Tigers were up 7-3 against the No. 2 ranked team in 5A.
By the time it was over, Dutchtown (24-4-2, 10-1) had rallied for 10 runs in the final three innings to hammer Hahnville 13-7 and put the Tigers’ playoff hopes in dire straits.
“We played well for four innings today,” Hahnville head coach Kade Rogers said. “Dutchtown is a very good team, and they took advantage of some of our pitching mistakes. They made the plays when they needed them.”
Senior Ryan Waters suffered the loss going 4 2/3 innings allowing nine hits and nine runs. He also walked three and struck out two.
After falling behind 2-1, the Tigers exploded for six runs in the third inning. Seniors Brandon Young and Waters led off the inning with walks before senior John Gomez belted a two-run double to give the Tigers the lead. Senior Buddy Trauth added an RBI single and senior Seppe Crovetto knocked in a run with a fielder’s choice. Senior Blaise Dempster knocked in the final run after being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
But the Tiger offense stalled after that and Dutchtown’s Troy Lewis belted a grand slam in the Griffin’s seven-run fifth inning to erase the lead.
“We’ve put ourselves in a tough position,” Rogers said. “We’ve got to win out if we want any chance of making the playoffs. We’ve got four games to go, and we need them all.”
The Tigers will travel to East St. John at 4 p.m. today and will host ESJ Saturday at 1 p.m. before closing out their home schedule at 4 p.m. Tuesday against St. Amant.
Last week, the Tigers dropped a tough road contest to Dutchtown 5-1 and defeated East Ascension 11-5.
Against Dutchtown, the Tigers held the Griffins to five runs while stranding 12 Dutchtown baserunners and picking off two more, but the Tiger offense was shut down by pitcher Dillon Day.
Hahnville scored its only run in the top of the first even though the Tigers got the leadoff batter on in five innings. Gomez was 2-for-3 with an RBI-double.
Against East Ascension last Thursday, senior Justin Zoglio got the win pitching 5 1/3 innings of one-hit ball in relief of senior Britten Lanaux.
Seniors Dillon Boudreaux and Dempster each went 3-for-3 while Dempster had two RBIs. Young knocked in three runs, and Waters belted a two-run home run in the fifth to seal the victory.