CROWLEY — Notre Dame was only up 1-0 until the fifth inning Monday, and Crowley starting pitcher Haden Erbe was in control, striking out four batters through the first four innings.
But game got away from Erbe in the fifth. He walked the leadoff batter and followed that up by giving up an RBI double to Nick Hanks. Crowley coach Michael Doughty pulled Erbe and put in Pate Broussard.
Broussard gave up a bases-loaded double to Sam Hoffpauir that cleared the bases and put the Pioneers up 7-1. The Pios put up five in the fifth, two in the sixth and four in the seventh to beat the Gents 13-2.
“If we hit like that and pitch like that, we are going to win a lot of games,” Notre Dame coach Steve Soper said. “It was good to get the lead early, and then Joe (Faulk) was awesome on the mound.”
Faulk pitched a complete game and held the Gents to just two runs on four hits. He didn’t record a strikeout, but Soper said strikeouts are not Faulk’s game.
“The biggest thing for Joe is getting ahead and trusting his off speed,” Soper said. “He isn’t a strikeout guy. He does a great job of letting his defense work behind him and he kept their hitters off balance.”
Soper said his team benefited from going through the lineup twice by the fifth inning.
“We saw them two times through the lineup, and we got a good bead on (Erbe),” Soper said. “We squared up and hit a couple fastballs where they weren’t.”
Doughty said the Gents made too many mistakes, and right now they “are not a good offensive baseball team.”
“It is disappointing for me to come out here and take one on the chin like that,” Doughty said. “We have great pitching, and up until now, we have played pretty good defense. But you cannot continue to win big ball games without offensive production. It leaves us doing some things that are kind of crazy when you can’t count on guys to come up and get timely base hits.”
The Gents didn’t get any runs until the seventh inning, but Doughty said the team needs to treat Monday’s loss as a wakeup call before the second round of district starts Tuesday against Beau Chene.
“It is going to prove what kind of character we are made of,” Doughty said. “We have no time to feel sorry for ourselves. We are playing a club (Beau Chene) we had to beat in eight innings. There is no time to sit back and feel sorry for yourself. We have to get after it.”
Notre Dame capitalized on some critical mistakes in the game that allowed them to bust it open, including three Crowley errors. Soper said the Pios continue to identify openings and take advantage.
“Offensively, we had one of those nights where everything was going well for us,” Soper said. “We capitalized on some mistakes, which we have done a good job of this year, especially on the bases. It was just one of those games where everything fell right for us.”