Destrehan looks to gain its footing after rocky start

Bryce Rochelle
Bryce Rochelle is one of Destrehan’s top returning hitters.

Destrehan will attempt to pick itself back up after a slow start to the season, the Wildcats absorbing three losses in their first four games of the season.

After going 26-7-1 last season — highlighted by an unbeaten run of 22 games at one point — the Wildcats (1-3) are retooling in several areas this season, with just three starters returning from their everyday lineup.

Coach Chris Mire believes this team will find cohesion soon, with Saturday perhaps marking an upswing already. Defense was an issue through two games, but Destrehan committed just a single error over its two games Saturday.

“We haven’t played to our usual standards defensively, when looking at the start as a whole,” Mire said. “We’ve played some good teams, but I think our guys have gone through some early season jitters. We haven’t been taking care of the little things that are important to winning and we’ve been paying the price.”

That comes with experience, he added.

“We harp on those things all the time, but until you see in live action how it can cost you, you don’t necessarily grasp how important those details are,” Mire said. “We’ll be fine, but we just have to push through those early season mistakes.”

A season-opening loss to Sulphur loss came in five innings by the 10- run rule by a score of 11-1. The Tors won on the back of big games by Will Dion (3-for-3 with two RBIs), Chance Stone (2-for-4, three RBIs) and Scott Jones (2-for-3, two RBIs).

Stone earned the win on the mound, going four innings and allowing one earned run on six hits. Dion pitched a scoreless fifth.

Joshua MacCord took the loss for Destrehan after allowing six runs (two earned) in three innings. He struck out three and walked one.

Bryce Rochelle had the top offensive day for Destrehan, tallying three of Destrehan’s seven hits in his three at bats.

Sulphur scored in each of its five innings at the plate, highlighted by a second and fourth innings where the Tors scored four runs in each.

Three days later, Destrehan’s Bryce Scioneaux and Clay Hurm combined to pitch a one-hitter, but St. Amant took advantage of five walks and three errors to push three unearned runs across as the Gators took a 3-1 victory.

Zane Zepphuar earned the win for St. Amant after going six innings and allowing one run on two hits. He struck out eight and walked two.

Rochelle and Zach Wild combined for Destrehan’s lone two hits of the day.

On Saturday, the Wildcats split a pair of games, falling 3-1 to Dutchtown while banking their first win of 2018 by an 8-2 score over Live Oak.

Against Dutchtown, Destrehan couldn’t solve a Griffins’ pitching group led by Harrison Hutson, who earned the win by allowing four hits and one earned run. He struck out five and walked one over five innings. Destrehan’s T.J. Thomas took the loss, going five innings and allowing three earned runs on 10 hits with a walk and a strikeout. Five Wildcats earned a hit offensively, with Rochelle driving in the team’s lone run.

But after scoring exactly one run in each of the first three games, Destrehan’s bats came alive against Live Oak. The Wildcats scored four runs in the second inning to set the tone for a big offensive day. Thomas tallied hits in each of his two at-bats and scored two runs. Clay Hurm and Zach Wild each drove in a run, while Logan Lege scored two runs and drove in two runs.

Ethan West, Rochelle and Hurm each doubled in the game while Dustin Joliff tripled.

Joshua MacCord went the complete game, striking out seven batters and allowing two runs on two hits. He walked no batters.

Pitching figures to be this team’s foundation yet again, with a strong staff headlined by LSU committed senior Landon Marceaux, who became a gold-medalist last September after helping lead the Team USA 18-under National Team to a World Cup championship.

Marceaux, who had a 1.56 ERA last season and struck out 99 batters in 62.2 innings, hasn’t pitched a game yet — Mire noted his ace tweaked his groin last week and was held out of action as a result. He said the hope is to have Marceaux back in action this weekend, but that the team will be smart about it.

Scioneaux and MacCord form a strong No. 2 and No. 3 on the staff, respectively, and Mire said he believes both will have strong seasons.

“Bryce would be the ace on a lot of teams,” Mire said. “He came in a little behind from football, a little beat up, so we’ve taken it slow with him here early. We’ve been monitoring his pitch count, but he threw really well against St. Amant the other night. He gave up no earned runs and pitched well enough to beat anyone.”

MacCord also has his coach’s full confidence.

“He had a really strong summer for us,” Mire said. “We’ve had some high expectations for him and he’s really fulfilled those and taken hold of that three-spot. We let him down defensively against Sulphur, he didn’t pitch bad. He came back and threw a strong complete game against Live Oak. His ability to throw strikes and compete, he can control a game from the mound.”

This weekend, Destrehan will compete on the Northshore in tournament action, facing Fontainebleau today, Covington and Slidell on Friday and St. Paul’s on Saturday.

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