LAFAYETTE — He doesn’t have his full arsenal right now, but St. Thomas More baseball coach Gary Perkins said he’s not down on his team — especially after the Cougars’ 6-2 win over Central of Baton Rouge on Saturday at the Atchafayla Challenge.
“We only have three starters back from last year,” Perkins said. “When you start throwing kids in their who were freshmen last year, you’re going to struggle. Our pitching came around threw strikes, and really that is all it’s about.”
Junior Mason Tucker pitched four innings for the Cougars, giving up four hits and striking out one. The Wildcats got to Tucker in the fifth, but Perkins put in sophomore Quentin Olivier to close the game.
“Quentin came in and shut it down,” Perkins said. “He has a great moving fastball that gets a lot of ground balls and pop- ups. He was the answer at that time to come in, and we were fortunate that we played good defense.”
Olivier struck out the side in the fifth and put down the Wildcats in order in the sixth and seventh innings. Perkins said the offense let them down, in the latter innings — the Cougars scored all their runs in the first four innings.
“We looked good for four innings, then I guess we lost focus,” Perkins said. “We played good defense, though, and we threw strikes. If you do that, you have a chance to win a baseball game.”
Central coach Mike Forbes said starting pitcher Cameron Polk missed some spots early, and the Cougars made them pay. He did get to freshman reliever Brant Husser, who threw two innings, allowing no hits and struck out two.
“They hit some balls hard, but we were in the game the whole time,” Forbes said. “When Husser came in, he did the job for us. He is a bulldog for me. For a freshman to come in and shut the door, gave us a chance to win.
“It doesn’t matter if he is playing against a little league team or the New York Yankees, he is going to get in there and play his game. I like my future with him.”
Perkins said his team is a work in progress and he working to learn the intricacies of unfamiliar players.
“Most of these guys were JV and freshman players,” Perkins said. “I went to their games and watched, but I didn’t know who was going to step it up this year. I’ve learned a lot about these young players, and it will help me to know what kind of management I need to do in district play.”