LAFAYETTE — Branson Audette’s worst fear on Tuesday quickly became a reason for the Lafayette baseball squad to celebrate.
Audette’s two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the seventh inning gave the Mighty Lions a 10-9 win over the previously undefeated Sulphur Golden Tors in a District 3-5A contest..
After Owen Thibodeaux reached on an error and Sulphur intentionally walked Lafayette leadoff hitter Antoine Duplantis (who was 4-for-4), Audette sent a full-count pitch from Andrew Mire past a diving Kyle Griffin to score the winning runs for the Lions.
“Right off the bat, I was afraid it was an at-’em ball.” Audette said. “The teams are tough in this district. Sometimes, you have to get a little lucky.”
That hit pushed the Lions even in the loss column with the Tors in district play. Sulphur dropped to 24-1 and 6-1 while the Lions improved to 18-5 and 4-1.
“Branson has done a great job since we moved him to the 2-hole instead of the 5-hole,” Lafayette coach Sam Taulli said. “It gives us some (lineup) protection for Antoine and when Antoine is on base, Branson sees a lot of fastballs. So it is a win-win for us.”
Before the Lions walked off their field, they saw Sulphur wipe out a 7-2 Lafayette lead largely on the strength of a grand slam by the Tors’ 3-hole hitter Austin Nelson. That blast to right-center field put the Tors on top 8-7 in the top of the fifth.
Sulphur increased the advantage to 9-7 during their seven-run inning. The Lions managed to get a run back on a Duplantis RBI-single in the fifth. Sulphur nearly picked up an insurance run in the seventh, but Lion outfielder Tyler Miller threw out the Tors’ Derek Scott at the plate to keep the margin at a run.
Mire retired the first two batters in the bottom half on flyouts to left field before Thibodeaux sent a grounder to short that the Tors were unable to turn into a game-ender. Duplantis was not given an opportunity to do more damage. “I was surprised they walked me ... I knew Branson would have a good at-bat,” Duplantis said. “To go 4-for-4 against a 24-0 team, I just really wanted us to win and give them (the Tors) their first loss.”
The Tors took a fast step toward another potential win when Kale Breaux led off the game with a solo homer to left. Lafayette starter Bo Hardin managed to hold the Tors to two runs on a pair of solo shots (the other came from Nelson) as the Lions built that 7-2 advantage. Once the Tors had come back, reliever Adam Arnold held them at bay over the last two innings to pick up the win. “Adam did a great job holding it where it was,” Taulli said. “He is good for 30 or 40 pitches. He started cutting himself off (on his delivery). He started missing down in the zone. If your going to miss, that is a good place to do it.”
Nelson finished 2-for-3 with the two homers and five RBIs for the Tors.