LAFAYETTE — Teurlings Catholic senior right-hander Josh Taylor celebrated his no-hitter against St. Martinville in the first round of the Class 4A baseball playoffs by stretching his throwing arm with a resistance band while devouring a ham sandwich with his left hand.
The ho-hum reaction fit the clinical way the top-seeded Rebels (29-4) dismantled the visiting Tigers (11-14) in a 10-0 win by run rule in five innings.
Taylor struck out four, with his only blemishes coming in the first inning when he walked a batter and hit another. His teammates quickly followed with a seven-run outburst in the first inning, and Taylor went into cruise control, retiring the last 13 batters he faced.
It was a bounce-back effort for Taylor, who had a rough outing in a regular-season finale against Ouachita Christian. His main focus after the St. Martinville game was less on the no-hitter than it was feeling right on the mound again.
“After that game, I felt horrible,” Taylor said. “Coming out today and regaining my focus, it got me on the right track. I feel a lot better. I feel stronger on the mound.”
The Rebels wasted no time giving Taylor a huge lead to work with. They sent 12 batters to the plate in their seven-run first inning, and they took advantage of every mistake the Tigers made.
Shortstop Hayden Cantrelle led off with an opposite-field double down the left-field line. Six of the next eight Rebels reached base after him, only one of them via a base hit.
By the time Cantrelle came back to the plate, the Rebels had a five-run lead. Cantrelle once again found a pitch to drive against starter Jake Cyr, and he hammered it into the left-center field gap to score two runs.
“He’s the little engine that gets us going, man,” Teurlings coach Michael Boudreaux said of Cantrelle. “He’s so important to us. He runs the bases real well, and he’s the spark plug. That’s what you want in the leadoff spot, and he gives it to us.”
Cyr, who will continue his career at LSU-Eunice, needed nearly 60 pitches to get through the first inning, which was his last. He walked four in the inning but was also not helped out by his defense, which committed two errors to go along with a passed ball.
“They went out and showed you why they’re No. 1. They don’t make mistakes, and they take advantage of every one you make,” St. Martinville coach Mike Lemoine said.
St. Martinville reliever Cy Guidry stemmed the tide with a pair of scoreless innings in relief, but the way Taylor was pitching, the Tigers could not climb out of the big deficit.
Taylor had to go to the bullpen to warm up again while the Rebels were putting together the seven-run first inning.
“(Taylor is) a guy that wants the ball, he wants to get on the mound and he wants to work fast,” Boudreaux said. “Most of the time the umpires want to slow him down because he’s a rhythm guy. He did a real nice job of staying focused.”
He said the key to his bounce-back effort Tuesday was his ability to command all three of his pitches. He also got a helping hand from his defense, which went a 11-for-11 in fielding opportunities.
The Rebels tacked on two more runs in the fourth inning on two St. Martinville errors, and once again it was Cantrelle who ignited the fuse on the final rally in the fifth inning.
Needing one run to win the game by run rule, Cantrelle led off with a single, moved to second on Brett Weber’s sacrifice bunt, then scored on Nick Webre’s walk-off drive to the left-center field gap. Cantrelle finished 3-4 with two doubles and two runs scored.
The Rebels will face No. 16 seed Livonia in the second round.