LAFAYETTE — The Teurlings Catholic baseball team had grown accustomed to big, early leads.
The Rebels had run-ruled their past four opponents, getting nine or more runs in the first two innings. In Saturday’s second game against Grant, Teurlings got just two runs, but it was enough to win behind Hayden Cantrelle’s one-hitter and 14 strikeouts.
The Rebels closed out the series with a 2-0 win to get back to the semifinals at the state tournament in Sulphur later this week.
“This has been the dream since the beginning of the season,” Cantrelle said. “We have been working real hard and taking advantage of what has been given to us. We try to get as much as we can out of each other and find any way to win.”
Teurlings coach Mike Thibodeaux said Cantrelle’s gutsy performance Saturday is indicative of the Louisiana-Lafayette commitment’s team-first mentality.
“Hayden is a very confident kid, and he has ability through the roof,” Thibodeaux said. “He is a great team player, and he did the job for us today. We weren’t hitting the ball like we have been, but that’s baseball. Hayden gets the complete game, and we really needed it. He was dominant.”
Teurlings scratched together five hits and scored its runs with help from Grant’s defense, which made three errors. Thibodeaux said the struggles to find base runners were not what they were accustomed to recently but could pay dividends moving forward.
“It was obviously different than what we have been used to these last few games,” Thibodeaux said. “We had to find a way to win differently, as opposed to having all those early runs. It is good for us, though. We needed a challenge and feeling pressure and working through those butterflies. We’ve done it all year, but it’s different in the playoffs. We were up for this task today and got the big game from Hayden.”
Cantrelle said he wasn’t concerned with potentially being pulled as his pitch count rose. He took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before Grant’s Hunter Parker led off with a single. Cantrelle said the game’s flow continued to boost his confidence as it went on.
“Our coaching staff prepares us to go to work every day, and having one of the best defenses in the state behind me doesn’t hurt,” Cantrelle said. “It’s a confidence deal. Having them go down one by one and not able to get much going is a comforting feeling.
“I always have the mindset to finish and go until our number is called. I was feeling good up there.”
The Rebels had a low-key celebration on the mound after the victory, and Thibodeaux said that signified that this journey isn’t complete.
“We got to Sulphur and that’s great, but that’s not our goal,” Thibodeaux said. “This group is hungry, and we have some business to take care of. Just getting to Sulphur wasn’t the only thing we wanted to accomplish.
“I am proud of the guys, but there is more work to be done. We’re back in the championship, and the goals we set last year are right in front of us. We need to get back there and finish.”