No. 2 VC shuts out CCHS in district game
By: Geoffrey Stoute
On the surface, it would seem that Central Catholic’s inability to push across runners in scoring position would be the thing that would upset CCHS coach Tyler Jensen in his squad’s 2-0 loss to No. 2-ranked Vermilion Catholic on Friday.
However, the Eagles’ coach said it was his team’s inability to execute bunts, something they practice, that irked him the most.
“The thing that bothered me the most was we had two or three opportunities to bunt guys over, something we’re really good at and we just didn’t get it done,” Jensen said. “Little things. That’s things we preach on. We believe we should have won this game and if we do the little things, we would have won this game. It’s a shame we wasted such a good pitching performance by a guy up there that gave us his best effort.”
That effort was given by CCHS’ Nick Longman, who in six and one-third innings, surrendered three hits and struck out 10.
“Nick Longman gave up three hits, one of which was a bunt,” Jensen said. “He was absolutely amazing.”
Vermilion Catholic starter Mark LaPorte was equally impressive as he surrendered four hits and struck out seven in a complete game effort.
“Those are the types of games why we’re in coaching,” Vermilion Catholic coach Daniel McMurtry said. “They got a good ball team. We got a good ball team. I know they play the same style we do so it’s good to see us be able to come out on top when they (Central Catholic) play a good game as well.”
Along with the bunts, the Eagles can look at their failure to score with runners in scoring positions as something that plagued them in the loss. The Eagles left runners at second and third base in the third inning and a runner at second in the fourth inning, as its batter was sent back to the dugout both times on a called third strike. In all, the Eagles left six runners on base, including five in scoring position.
Vermilion Catholic, on the other hand, scored its lone runs in the top of the fifth inning on designated hitter Hayden Ryder’s solo home run to left field on a 1-2 pitch from CCHS starter Longman and in the sixth inning on Ryder’s RBI double to left field that scored Clay LeBlanc.
While Vermilion scored its runs in the fifth and sixth innings, CCHS had its chances in the bottom of the third and fourth innings, respectively.
After Ridge Rousseau started the third with a single to left-center field, Longman was called out when he fouled off a bunt attempt with two strikes on him.
However, the next batter, Bryson Barbier, singled to centerfield and Rousseau advanced to third base on the play. On a throw home to keep Rousseau at third, Barbier advanced to second.
Then things went sour for the Eagles as Josh Singleton grounded out to the third baseman, while Austin Autin was caught looking on a third strike.
In the bottom of the fourth, Barron Courtney doubled to the left field wall, but then the next three batters were put out, Luke Landry on a called third strike, Eriq Blanchard on a groundout to the shortstop and Dominick Guarisco on a called third strike.
“Mark, he’s a warrior, and he’s been a warrior for my three years here,” McMurtry said. “There’s a reason he’s on the mound for that game and we have confidence in him and when situations get tough like that, that’s when he shines.”