LAFAYETTE — A quick strike and effective situational hitting shortened the Lafayette High School baseball team’s workload against Sam Houston on Tuesday.
Mighty Lions first baseman Hudson Laborde lined the first pitch he saw in the first inning for a three-run homer and Lafayette backed that up with a four-run fourth inning in a 12-2 victory over Sam Houston that went five innings before ending by mercy rule.
The Broncos got on the board in the top of the first when Jacob Stracner lifted a solo homer to left.
However, the Lions quickly responded when Branson Audette walked and Cain Castille singled to put a couple of runners on for Laborde.
“I was having some problems seeing the ball lately, but the first pitch was a fastball down the middle,” Laborde said.
By the time the first inning ended, the Lions had tacked on two more runs after Laborde’s homer. One run came home on an errant Sam Houston throw. The other scored on a Ben Reynolds single.
That lead gave Lafayette starting pitcher Bo Hardin some breathing room, which he used to limit the Broncos to a pair of hits (with eight strikeouts) over five innings.
“Bo will be around the strike zone and he usually pitches to contact,” Lafayette coach Sam Taulli said. “He got a lot of strikeouts today because of (the Broncos) being aggressive.”
Putting the ball in play in a pair of situations helped the Lions during a couple of rallies. Hardin golfed a ball out of the dirt and slapped a hit-and-run single to right field during the Lions’ first-inning rally. Later, second baseman Owen Thibodeaux followed a Tyler Miller single with a push bunt past the mound to put Lafayette runners at first and second with no out in the fourth.
“We have been working on that hit-and-run and the push bunt,” Taulli said. “Thibodeaux won’t hit a three-run homer, but he did a great job getting that ball past the pitcher.”
The Lions had built a 10-2 lead when Miller and Thibodeaux fueled a final rally by putting a single and a walk back-to-back with one out. Leadoff hitter Antoine Duplantis drew a walk to load the bases. Audette lined a double into the gap in left center to score Miller and Thibodeaux and end the game.
“That (production by the bottom of the lineup) gives good opportunities for the middle of the lineup,” Laborde said.
Hardin improved his record to 6-1 with the win. The Lions stayed unbeaten in District 3-5A by running their record to 16-4, 4-0. The Broncos dropped to 17-7, 2-2.
The Lions will host Acadiana High on Thursday. “Every year, we play them well in (early-season) tournament play and then it’s a dogfight in district,” Taulli said. “We have to be ready to play.”