North Vermilion winning pitcher Connor Dupuy was quickly quizzed by baseball coach Jeremy Trahan after Saturday’s 5-0 District 8-3A victory over Kaplan.
“He asked me how many batters I thought had gotten hits,” Dupuy said. “I said two or three. When he told me none, I was like, ‘Wow.’ ”
Dupuy’s sense of timing for his first no-hit performance at any level of baseball couldn’t have been better for a North Vermilion team looking for a kick-start to its season.
The loss of five senior starters from last year’s Class 3A state quarterfinalist team, coupled this year with the loss of two starters to season-ending injuries, have made for a bumpy ride.
North Vermilion (8-11, 1-2 in 8-3A) recently endured a six-game losing streak before showing a glimmer of a possible turnaround with a 8-7 win over Notre Dame, followed by Dupuy’s masterpiece against Kaplan.
The Patriots host the Pirates (10-8, 1-4) Tuesday at 4 p.m.
“We just told the kids we needed to start playing better, and a performance like that (Dupuy’s no-hitter) helps a ton,” Trahan said.
Not only did Dupuy limit Kaplan’s offense, allowing one walk with seven strikeouts, but the honorable mention Class 3A All-State selection successfully reached base four times. He went 3-for-3, was hit by a pitch, scored a run and stole two bases.
“He’s having a great season, he’s a special player,” Trahan said.
With the loss of standout pitchers Donald Comeaux (UL-Lafayette redshirt) and Ryan Meaux, Dupuy was elevated to the top of North Vermilion’s rotation after pitching 12 innings last season.
Trahan said Dupuy’s 1-3 record before the Kaplan game was more indicative of his team’s lack of run support than subpar pitching.
Dupuy, who is drawing interest from Southeastern Louisiana for his .400 batting average and athleticism, showed for one afternoon he can pitch as well.
Kaplan got two runners on in the bottom of the first with a one-out walk and error before Dupuy responded with a pick off of the runner at second base and the final out of the inning.
Dupuy didn’t allow another base runner, retiring 20 consecutive batters.
“I was feeling good,” Dupuy said. “I wanted to work ahead on batters, and I have to have confidence in my defense. I just go one inning at a time.”
Trahan said Dupuy’s complete-game effort consisted of 91 pitches, 67 percent for strikes and an eye-popping 77 percent of which went for first strikes, enabling him to stay ahead of batters and avoid any trouble.
Dupuy coaxed nine ground-ball outs and his seven strikeouts included two in each of the final two innings.
“This showed that I’m a better pitcher than I thought I was,” Dupuy said. “I think this could be a turning point for our team. Now that we’ve won a few games, I think it will build our confidence and let them know that we can go out and beat every other team.”