Tigers learning under fire in difficult non-district stretch

Joey Saucier pitched a gem against Sulphur Saturday to guide Hahnville to a win.

Will face No. 1 and 2 ranked teams Saturday

Behind a strong effort on the mound by starting pitcher Joey Saucier, Hahnville snapped an early season losing streak on Saturday via a 3-1 victory over Sulphur at the Billy Navarre Chevrolet Classic tournament.

Saucier went the complete game, allowing one earned run on six hits while striking out eight. He walked three to help push the Tigers (1-8) to their first win of the season, perhaps serving as a spark for a team that’s been trying to find its footing after losing the majority of its starters from a season ago.

Hahnville scored two runs in the first inning on David Bernard’s two-RBI double, then added one in the third when Lucky scored on an error after he singled his way on. Sulphur scratched its lone run across in the fifth.

Mason Lucky led Hahnville offensively, going 4-for-4 at the plate – including a double –  while scoring two runs. David Bernard went 1-for-3 with two RBIs.

It was a reversal of fortune for a Tigers team that had been on the losing end of several close ballgames early this season. Hahnville has lost five games by two runs or less, including decisions to Lafayette, 2-1; Acadiana, 12-10; Catholic-Baton Rouge, 3-1; and Denham Springs, 2-1.

“The big thing for us is we have to throw strikes,” said Hahnville coach David Baudry. “That’s been a struggle for us … we’ve played excellent defense all year and offensively, against some really good arms, we’ve been pretty good. But we have to throw strikes. This has been the toughest schedule we’ve ever played, so we really have to be on our A-game, day after day.”

That said, if that’s been the missing component, the tournament games could offer a glimpse of a positive run of play ahead. Baudry noted very strong performances by Jack Stumbo, Collin Maise and Cameron Schmill along with Saucier last weekend. Maise and Schmill are just getting back to form after missing time earlier this season.

“When we throw strikes, we have a chance to win any game we play,” Baudry said.

That Lafayette loss came earlier in the tournament, after Hahnville couldn’t find a way to push the tying run across after cutting a 2-0 lead to one run on Saucier’s sixth inning RBI double to score Bryson Thomas.

Maise took a hard luck loss on the mound for Hahnville, allowing two unearned runs on six hits and three walks in a complete game effort. Jacob Tate earned the win for Lafayette, going six innings and allowing one earned run on four hits.

The schedule doesn’t lighten up. A rematch with Sulphur is set for Friday  (hosted at St. Amant) before Hahnville takes on the daunting task of facing the state’s top two ranked teams in a double-header Saturday, Sam Houston and Zachary (both hosted at Zachary), all of those games taking place at the Jay Patterson shootout.

While Baudry said the tough schedule — Hahnville’s strength of schedule led the state in wins notched by opponents entering the week — certainly should make the Tigers better in the long run, he was also clear that wins must materialize and fast.

“(The schedule) wasn’t purposely set up that way , but I also feel you don’t get better by beating teams who are easily beaten… Hopefully it helps us later on, but you have to win games,” Baudry said. “We’re 1-8. I told our guys the goal coming out of the next nine is to be 5-4, post a winning record in this stretch and set ourselves up to make a run.”

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