LAFAYETTE — With the help of a solid outing from its pitching staff, St. Thomas More topped Teurlings 2-1 in a battle of two teams who came into the game undefeated in District 5-4A play.
The Cougars were boosted by the return of one of their top pitchers, Hogan Harris.
Harris, who is committed to play at Louisiana-Lafayette, entered the game in the sixth inning and proceeded to shut down the Rebels.
St. Thomas More coach Gary Perkins said both Harris and Grant Cox, the Cougars’ starting pitcher on the night, were returning from injury with Harris having missed two months and Cox being out for the past three weeks.
“It felt good to have him back. He came to me and told me that he could give me two innings,” Perkins said. “I knew he wasn’t going to be pinpoint control, but he was just enough.”
Harris loaded the bases in the top of the seventh after walking two batters and hitting another before striking out Hayden Cantrelle for the final out of the game.
Cox pitched five innings of three-hit ball, giving up one unearned run.
Perkins said with the Cougars (12-8, 4-0) getting back several of their top arms who were injured at the beginning of the year the team has more confidence, which has led to the strong start to district play.
“Getting some of our arms off the shelf has helped tremendously,” Perkins said. “Now we just need to work on getting this offense a little more consistent.”
Teurlings coach Mike Thibodeaux said Harris is one of the best arms in the country for a reason, and while the Rebels had seen him pitch before, he was surprised by the velocity on Harris’ fastball
Teurlings pitcher Josh Taylor battled with the Cougars’ lineup throughout the night, something Thibodeaux has grown accustomed to this season.
Thibodeaux said Taylor fell behind in the early innings but once he settled down, he started hitting his spots and shut down the Cougars.
Taylor only allowed one hit after the third inning and finished with eight strikeouts, giving up only one earned run.
The Cougars took the lead in the bottom of the third after an error on Rebels (14-7, 3-1) right fielder Josh Fontenot allowed Cougars centerfielder Brennan Breaux to reach base. He later scored on a two-run single by Christian Leonard to make it 2-0.
Thibodeaux said despite the error, he thought his team had a solid day fielding, making several nice plays to keep the Cougars off the scoreboard.
“If we play defense like we did tonight we’ll be tough to beat,” Thibodeaux said. “Tonight we just needed a little bit more. St. Thomas More is the team to beat with arms coming back.”
Teurlings scored in the top of the fourth on a single and an error to cut the lead to 2-1.
Perkins said after a stretch at the beginning of this month that saw the Cougars lose eight of 10 games, he’s glad to see some of his players returning and the team getting back to their winning ways.
“Since the pitching wasn’t there we were starting to get a little doubtful on whether or not we were going to be competitive this year,” Perkins said. “But the kids are getting their confidence back.”