For most of the night, Teurlings Catholic struggled to get a hit until the exact moment the Rebels needed one.
With one out in the bottom of the seventh inning, Austin Kirkpatrick broke up the no-hitter by Opelousas Catholic’s lefty ace Spencer Noel. That hard-hit single forced Noel from the game, and he was replaced ,by Conner Cart, who walked Andre Stelly.
Nathan Arceneaux then laced a hit into right field which brought home the winning run as the Rebels defeated the Vikings 1-0 on Monday at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field.
“He’s their No. 1 for a reason,” Teurlings Catholic coach Mike Thibodeaux said of Noel. “He did a really good job tonight. But in the seventh inning, we were able to put some quality bats together.”
Tuerlings Catholic (16-8, 4-2 in District 5-4A) managed to get only two base runners in the four innings, which came on an error and a dropped third strike. Both times the runner was Hayden Cantrelle. The Rebels got two more on base in the bottom of the fifth on another throwing error and a hit batter but were unable to get either across home.
That’s because Noel was a force on the mound, highlighted by striking out five Rebel batters in a row. Despite getting hung with the loss, Noel gave up one run on one hit and ended the game with seven strikeouts.
“He was coming off three days rest,” Opelousas Catholic coach Justin Boyd said. “I was trying to get him three or four innings, but his velocity was really good. I thought he worked around the strike zone all night.”
Noel wasn’t the only one dealing in Monday’s contest. Teurlings Catholic ace Josh Taylor did an excellent job of keeping the Vikings off the base paths as well. Taylor retired the first 10 batters he faced and ended the game with 11 strikeouts.
“He wants the ball in his hands,” Thibodeaux said. “He is always going to challenge hitters. He’s our No. 1”
Opelousas Catholic (16-7, 4-2 in District 5-2A) had a few chances to score a run, with runners in scoring position in both the fourth and sixth innings. The best chance was in the fourth when Matt Collins drew a one-out walk and Zach Hebert singled two batters later. Both stole bases, and the Vikings had runners on second and third, but Taylor got Nick Mouret to strike out to end the inning.
“We just couldn’t get a run across,” Boyd said. “I don’t think we’ve seen a better right-hander all year.”
Teurlings Catholic returns to action on Wednesday at home against Northside, in a game rescheduled from Saturday. Opelousas Catholic hosts district rival Westminster Christian Tuesday and travels there for a game on Thursday.
The Vikings’ seventh-year coach hopes his team takes something from Monday’s game.
“This loss is a better loss is if we learn from it,” Boyd said. “We are going to hopefully learn from this.”