LAFAYETTE — On a day when the Lafayette High baseball team hit some rough patches offensively, the number zero also caused some smiles.
The Mighty Lions used a sixth-inning, leaping catch at the wall by center fielder Antoine Duplantis and a clean effort by their fielders as a whole to hold on for a 4-3 win over Comeaux on Thursday in a District 3-5A game.
“Anytime we get a zero in the ‘E’ column, it makes me happy,” Lafayette coach Sam Taulli said. “We only had one mental error — and Antoine makes that play in center. Things might have been different if he didn’t.”
Lafayette led 4-0 when Comeaux catcher Ben Bayless started the top of the sixth with a lined single to right. Colin Thibodeaux followed that with a smash to deep center. Duplantis came down with the ball and the first out.
“I knew the wind was blowing out, and I just tried to get back to the wall as quickly as possible so the wall wouldn’t be a surprise,” Duplantis said.
The Spartans put a double and a single back-to-back to get their first run. Austin Barrios doubled down the third base line to move pinch runner Andrew Simon to third. Then Brett Landry blooped a single to right to score Simon. Reliever Joseph Battaglia closed down the rally by getting a strikeout and a fielder’s choice.
Comeaux pulled closer in the seventh when Bayless knocked in Antonio Culotta and Korley Broussard with a double to deep left. Simon pinch-ran for Bayless and attempted to advance to third on a grounder. Lions shortstop Bo Hardin threw him out.
“We pitched well and we played good defense, but we have to do better with guys in scoring position,” Comeaux coach Matt McCullough said. “And we got thrown out at third on that play. We fought back and got some hits, but we also have to be better in two-strike counts (at the plate).”
Battaglia ended the game on a flyout and another grounder to Hardin, which he took to second base for a forceout.
“Our pitching and defense carried us because our offense never showed up,” Taulli said.
Lion starting pitcher Miguel Reyes made his way through 5.1 innings and allowed one run before the Lafayette staff summoned Battaglia to help close down the sixth inning. Reyes picked up the win.
“Miguel had to lengthen his stride on his fastball (after the first inning), and then he was able to start throwing his curve for strikes,” Taulli said. “When he throws the curve for strikes, he is tough.”
Duplantis was 1-for-3 with a solo homer for the Lions, who improved to 19-5 and 5-1 with the win. Bayless was 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs for the Spartans, who dropped to 7-15 and 1-7.