ST. MARTINVILLE — Despite playing on a soggy field, the St. Martinville Tigers inched closer Friday to earning their first playoff berth in five years.
With a five-inning 11-1 victory over District 5-4A foe Northside, St. Martinville improved to six games over .500 on the season. The Tigers have only four games left in the regular season and currently sit at No. 18 in the latest lhsaa power rankings. That means St. Martinville is on the verge of ending that postseason drought.
“We talked about playing good baseball,” St. Martinville coach Mike Lemoine said. “We put all the aspects of hitting, pitching and defense together (Friday). It was really important for us to have played this game and win the game. Now, we only have two district games to play now.”
In the bottom of the first, St. Martinville (14-8 and 7-3 in District 5-4A) scratched out a pair of runs as leadoff hitter Matt Hulin scored on a single by Reece Frederick, who later scored on a sacrifice fly by Braxton Resweber. Northside responded in the top of third as Denzel Cormier led off with an infield single, stole second and third base before scoring on a groundout by James Simion.
St. Martinville broke the game open in the third and fourth innings.
Hulin led off with a deep shot to left field that resulted in a standup triple. He scored on a sacrifice fly by Cy Guidry. Fredericks reached first after being hit by a pitch and scored two batters later on a fielder’s choice by Collin Guidry. Guidry scored on a single by Tate Courville.
The Tigers batted around again the next inning, scoring four more runs and then wrapped up the victory in the bottom of the fifth by the mercy rule. With one out, Glenn Lewis singled and stole second base and knocked in by a Frederick double. Frederick advanced to third on a groundout and scored on a pass ball.
“They have been doing a good job of adjusting to different types of pitching,” Lemoine said. “They have been having a good approach to that.”
Despite giving up the 11 runs and being tagged with the loss, Northside junior pitcher Markaylon Boyd showed flashes on the mound, striking out five and forcing many batters into soft infield hits, but due to the soggy conditions or miscues, resulted in those becoming base hits.
“Markaylon is our ace,” Northside coach Kevin Vital said. “He is really coming into his own his junior season. He’s done a phenomenal job every time he has been on the mound. We just can’t get the plays behind him or we can’t get the hits needed.”
Northside (1-17, 0-9 in District 5-4A) did have a few chances to score runs.
After leaving two runners on base in the first inning, the Vikings had another chance in the second inning. With one out, Boyd led off with a single. Drakkar Francois then dropped a single into shallow center field. St. Martinville starting pitcher Ryan Oubre, who picked up the win, got the next two batters to ground out.
“Our No. 9 hitter didn’t give a quality at-bat by swinging at the first pitch,” Vital said. “Instead of guys on with one out we had two outs and then three. We need to produce better at-bats.”
St. Martinville now gears up to make a push for the postseason, and possibly try to climb the rankings high enough to earn a home playoff game. This group of Tiger players has never experienced that, but Lemoine is not concerned about his team’s focus in the final week of the season.
“It has been very easy to keep them focused,” Lemoine said. “They are a super focused, and they are self-motivated.”