Patterson High School's Don Diaz steals second base, while Morgan City shortstop William LaRocca fields the throw during the Lumberjacks' contest with Morgan City Tuesday at Tiger Diamond. Morgan City rallied to tie the game in the sixth inning and won the game in the bottom of the eighth when Mitchell Mancuso stole home. (The Daily Review/Geoff Stoute)

Mancuso steals home for MCHS extra-inning win

Morgan City High School’s Mitchell Mancuso stole home on a squeeze play, and the Tigers defeated Patterson 3-2 in eight innings in nondistrict action Tuesday at Tiger Diamond in Morgan City.
In the bottom of the eighth with Mancuso on third and Dylan Tingle up to bat, Mancuso took off for home plate on the first pitch from Patterson reliever Reid Perkins.
While Tingle was unable to get the bunt down, Mancuso slid safely into home ahead of the tag by Patterson catcher Noah Bryant for the win.
“Coach told us what to do, and we got to execute what he tells us what to do. He (Tingle) didn’t really execute that, but you can’t give up and you just got to follow through with the play and follow through with the decision, so I didn’t hesitate and just kept going,” Mancuso said of the game-winning play.
Morgan City began the bottom of the eighth when Mancuso walked and advanced to second on a passed ball.
The next batter, Kyle Ring, reached base on a bunt single, which moved Mancuso to third before Mancuso came home one batter later.
The win was Morgan City’s second straight and second consecutive on a squeeze play as the Tigers capped a huge rally across two innings Saturday with a bunt by Logan Metrejean in the bottom of the seventh to win a game.
Tuesday’s win came after some tough outings to begin the season for Morgan City. Morgan City Coach Andrew Madden said he thought that early part of the season was “just an acclimation period” for many of the team’s players, who only received some junior varsity playing time a year ago.
“They’re maturing in front of us, and I’m hoping we can keep that going once we get to district time, which is next week,” Madden said.
Ironically, the game ended on a base-running play after Morgan City had run itself out of two innings on base-running plays.
The Tigers had a runner picked off second base in the bottom of the third on a double play to end one threat and another thrown out by Bryant trying to steal third base in the bottom of the fourth for the third out.
Morgan City also stranded a runner at third base in the bottom of the second when Patterson starter Joseph Larson recorded a strikeout.
However, the Tigers defense and some big pitches on the mound kept Morgan City in the game despite lapses on the base paths and some offensive struggles.
Morgan City escaped a bases-loaded jam in the top of the fourth inning after giving up just a run in the inning on a groundout by Irvin Celestine for a 2-0 Patterson lead. Morgan City starter Chris Pitre forced a popup to left field to end the inning.
The Tigers also escaped a bases-loaded sixth inning situation, this time unscathed, when reliever Logan Metrejean forced a pop out to left field.
“Errors cost us the game,” Patterson Coach Blayze Romero said. “Made a crucial error at shortstop that gave them the tying run. Left the bases loaded. (We) left too many baserunners (on).”
Patterson left nine runners on base, while Morgan City stranded six.
“We just didn’t execute,” Romero said.
Mancuso, the third of three Morgan City pitchers, earned the win. In two innings, he surrendered no hits and struck out four.
Earlier in the game, Patterson scored single runs in the third and fourth innings.
Bryant, who reached base on a single to left field and stole second and third base, came home after an error by Morgan City’s third baseman on a pickoff throw to third base for a 1-0 Patterson lead.
Celestine’s groundout in the fourth brought home another run.
Morgan City tied the game at 2 in the bottom of the sixth.
With two outs and Morgan City’s Hayden Barron and Ring on second and first base, respectively, after drawing walks, Maurice Martin connected on what was called a ground-rule double after the ball went behind the Tigers’ batting cages.
Barron scored on the play, and Ring stood at third base.
The next batter, Tingle, hit a ball to shortstop on which an error was committed, allowing Morgan City to tie the game at 2.
Morgan City threatened to win the game in the bottom of the seventh with a two-out triple to the right field wall by William LaRocca, but Perkins recorded the third out via a strikeout to escape the threat.
Martin and LaRocca led Morgan City’s offense. Martin was 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI and a stolen base, while LaRocca was 2-for-4 with a triple and a stolen base.
Perkins suffered the loss in relief. In three innings, he surrendered three runs (two earned) on three hits with four walks and six strikeouts.
Bryant led Patterson’s offense with a 2-for-2 performance with two stolen bases and a run, while Celestine was 1-for-3 with an RBI and a stolen base.
Pitre started the game for Morgan City, and in four innings, he surrendered two runs (one earned) on three hits with five walks, one hit batter and four strikeouts.
Larson started the game for Patterson, and in four innings, he surrendered three hits, hit one batter and fanned three.

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