LAFAYETTE — By not trying to do too much, the Lafayette High Mighty Lions accomplished a lot Saturday.
The Lions rapped 13 hits during their series-clinching 8-3 win over the Acadiana Wreckin’ Rams in a Class 5A second-round game. The victory sends Lafayette to the quarterfinals best-of-three series, where they will host Barbe on Friday and Saturday.
None of those hits by the Lions left the park — many of them were opposite-field hits that helped feed a four-run third inning and a three-run sixth for the Lions.
“We usually try not to do too much (with the ball),” Lafayette coach Sam Taulli said. “There are situations where we want them to take a big hack, but most of the time we are just saying, ‘work middle away and keep the bat head in the zone longer and knock the (...) out of it.’ ”
Lafayette leadoff hitter Antoine Duplantis singled to start the game and scored on a Cain Castille single to give the Lions a 1-0 lead. The Wreckin’ Rams responded with a run to even the score, as John Joslin drove in Brandon Duhon on a single to right field in the bottom half of the inning.
The Lions created a cushion by with four runs on five hits in the third. Duplantis sliced a pitch down the left-field line for a double to get things started. Branson Audette followed with a bunt single. Duplantis scored on the play when Audette and Acadiana first baseman Hill Babineaux got tangled up momentarily at first. Emile Lege later knocked in Audette with a single. Right fielder Ben Reynolds capped the rally with a two-run double.
“We knew with Bo (Hardin) on the bench, if we had a lead late in the game, we were going to be able to bring him in to close it,” Taulli said. “I’m just glad it was a big enough lead and not close.”
Acadiana scored a run in the fifth on a Tyler Laporte groundout to cut the deficit to 5-2 before the Lions increased that lead thanks to one swing in the sixth. First baseman Hudson Laborde came up in a bases-loaded situation and cleared the bases with a double to right-center on the first pitch he saw from Acadiana pitcher Derek Boutin.
“I just wanted to square the ball up. It was a curveball outside, and I was able to hit it hard,” Laborde said. “When you get up (ahead) like that, we just left it to Emile (Lege) and he threw strikes and let his defense work.”
Once the Lions had a lead in the second game of a best-of-three series that they already led 1-0, that gave them a chance to be patient and not chase pitches outside the strike zone.
“We worked the counts and hit our pitches,” Laborde said. “(The Rams) beat us twice in the regular season, so it was kind of a revenge thing.”
Trailing 8-3, Acadiana’s last push came in the bottom of the seventh against Hardin when Ethan Bellman and Boutin singled and walked. However, Hill Babineaux’s liner was run down by Duplantis to end the game.
Lafayette improved to 25-8, while Acadiana finished the season at 20-13.
Babineaux was 2-for-3 for the Rams. Duplantis was 3-for-4 for the Lions with three runs scored.