Central Catholic shortstop Bryce Grizzaffi prepares to apply a tag as a False River baserunner slides safely into second base during the teams' Division IV Regional Round matchup in Amelia Wednesday. Central Catholic won the game, 9-0. (The Daily Review/Geoff Stoute)
Central Catholic Eagles defeat False River Academy, 9-0
Central Catholic started fast, battled through a few innings in which False River made some solid defensive plays and finished strong as the Eagles defeated False River 9-0 in Division IV Regional Round action in Amelia Wednesday.
The Eagles (25-7) erupted for four runs in the bottom of the first inning, but the scoring slowed down tremendously during the next four innings as the Eagles scored just two runs, both in the third inning, before finishing off the game with three runs in the bottom of the sixth.
“We started really fast,” Central Catholic Coach Tyler Jensen said. “It was something we had talked about wanted to make it was something that we did. We kind of went through a lull but I will say this: I was telling (False River Coach) Joel (Daigle) after the game, they’re first baseman probably saved four runs by himself today.
“I thought they played really good defense,” Jensen added. “I thought there were some balls that we absolutely squared up right at them that they made some plays. It was frustrating that we couldn’t get maybe a couple of things going in the middle innings, but I think that had more to do with them making plays than us not doing things at the plate.”
Central Catholic will return to action May 3 when it hosts No. 8 seed Ascension Christian in the Division IV quarterfinals. Ascension Christian defeated No. 9 St. Frederick, 10-5, in other regional-round action Wednesday.
In Central Catholic’s win, its quick start began in the bottom of the first inning when leadoff batter Drake Angeron reached base on a bunt single, Bryce Grizzaffi reached on an error and both later scored on Mitchel Lemoine’s two-run double to centerfield for a 2-0 lead.
After Gregory Leger followed with a single to left field, everybody was safe one batter later, loading the bases, when False River (10-19-1) tried to get Lemoine out at third base via a fielder’s choice,
Two batters later, Samarick Paul connected on a single that scored two more runs for a 4-0 Central Catholic lead.
False River first baseman Kohl James turned his first solid play of the day in the first inning just prior to Paul’s at bat when he dove to rob Blake Hidalgo of a hit down the first base line and then touched the first base bag for a double play.
False River turned a double play to escape any damage in the second inning.
“I’m extremely proud of that,” Daigle, a Central Catholic alum who played coached with Jensen, said of the defensive effort. “I really am. The guys come out focused. It gave us a chance to compete and hang in the game, and I’m extremely proud of those guys for making plays when we needed them. Unfortunately, the game of baseball’s tough, and it comes down to timely hits.”
Timely hits were something the Gators struggled with as they left runners six runners on base, including runners in scoring position in the first, fifth and sixth innings.
“Yes, we did get a few guys on, but we’ve been struggling with that all year,” Daigle said. “We’ve been struggling with the timely hits, get runners in scoring position, and it’s something I’ve stressed from day one, getting the timely hits, but you always got to tip your hat to a good baseball team.”
Central Catholic’s defense and pitchers Blake Hidalgo and Greg Leger kept the Gators off the scoreboard. Hidalgo earned the win as he limited the Gators to three hits, walked two and fanned 10 in 5.2 innings. Leger pitched the final 1.1 innings and fanned two.
“Blake wasn’t as sharp as maybe his last time out against Jesuit, but that’s pretty tough to top,” Jensen said. “He definitely pitched well enough for us to win. Defensively, I thought we were a little shaky at times. We got to clean some of that up.”
Jensen said it’s a nice luxury to be able to replace a pitcher who has reached his pitch count with someone equally effective.
“It’s a good problem to have, and it’s good to get them both work,” Jensen said.
Central Catholic added two runs in the third via Hidalgo’s two-run double to the centerfield wall for a 6-0 advantage.
The Eagles scored three more runs in the bottom of the sixth as a run scored on a dropped ball in right field, another scored on a ball past the catcher, and the final run came home on Hidalgo’s sacrifice fly to centerfield.
Central Catholic collected 12 hits, led by Angeron, Lemoine and Hidalgo. Angeron was 3-for-4 with a stolen base and two runs, Leger, 3-for-4 with a double and two runs; and Hidalgo, 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs. Other top Central Catholic offensive contributors included Paul, 1-for-3 with two RBIs, and Lemoine, 1-for-4 with two RBIs and a run.
Cole Laprarie suffered the loss. In six innings, he surrendered nine runs (five earned) on 12 hits with three walks. James led False River’s offense with a 2-for-3 performance.