Hahnville traveled to Live Oak determined to carry over some late season momentum into the Class 5A first round matchup between the teams, but ultimately fell short of extending its year.
No. 9 Live Oak advanced to the second round with a 3-1 victory over the No. 24 seeded Tigers, propelled by a strong pitching performance by starter Sal Palermo, who allowed one run on six hits and struck out four to earn the win.
He outdueled Hahnville’s Joey Saucier, who went the complete game and allowed three runs on seven hits.
Live Oak was able to push all three runs across via the sacrifice fly.
“It really was a pitchers’ duel,” Hahnville coach David Baudry said. “They were able to get leadoff runners on and move them over. It’s fundamental baseball … they manufactured runs. We had opportunities to do that, but we didn’t come through.”
Live Oak (23-10) got on the board first in the second inning, after Kody Guidry stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. That set up a sacrifice fly by Palermo that made it 1-0.
Another sacrifice fly in the next inning, this time by Lane Hutchenson, scoring Cameron Dickerson.
Hahnville answered on a double by Collin Maise, which scored Mason Lucky in the top of the fourth inning after Lucky singled to lead off the inning.
But the third RBI sacrifice fly of the day for Live Oak came on the bat of Kody Guidry, scoring Rhett Rosevear and giving their team a two run lead in the fifth inning.
Still, the Tigers kept Live Oak from posting a big inning, and thus kept themselves alive.
“Joey made some big pitches when we needed it … David Bernard, Mason Lucky both made tremendous defensive plays. Ryan Barbier made a great play in centerfield. We just couldn’t match their manufacturing of runs.”
Max Farrell singled in the seventh to keep Hahnville alive with two outs, but Palermo sealed things with a strikeout and stamped his team for round two.
Maise went 2-for-3 at the plate to lead HHS.
Hahnville finished the season with a record of 13-18. The Tigers got off to a 1-12 start but won 12 of its final 18 games to turn around its season.
“I think a lot of teams end up with seven or eight wins total after the start we had,” Baudry said. “For this team to fight through, to be in the district race in the last day of the season, to take it down to their final at-bat in the playoffs …it’s a testament to the work ethic these guys have. The pride they have in the program and their school … it’s really a tremendous group of young men.”
Five Hahnville seniors graduate, but next year’s team will return plenty of experience.
Baudry said getting off to a better start is an obvious must, and added his players will learn from the trials of a difficult 2018. Though the Tigers were one win away from rallying to earn the District 7-5A championship, an opening round playoff loss following a long bus ride serves to remind that a price was paid for those early season defeats.
“I think they learned that the season starts Feb. 20 and you’ve got to be ready to go,” Baudry said. “Not that we weren’t, but we need to be more ready. The first goal next year is to be in that top 16 come playoff time and be at home in round one.”