GONZALES — The East Ascension baseball team is well acquainted with the situation it found itself in Tuesday night.
The Spartans entered their matchup with District 5-5A rival St. Amant having been in 15, one-run ball games, winning six of them.
So when pitcher Austin McInnis stepped to the mound with one out in the top of the seventh and the go-ahead run on second base, he knew what to do.
“(The Gators) thought they were going to rally, they even tried to get in my head,” McInnis said. “But I didn’t let it happen. I knew if they were to get a ground ball or a pop fly, my guys were right behind me.”
McInnis didn’t need help from any of his teammates, settling the game on his own with a pair of strikeouts to secure the Spartans’ 4-3 win at home.
The win snaps a four-game losing streak for the Spartans (11-11, 1-2).
The senior retired the only two batters he faced Tuesday, effectively snuffing out St. Amant’s (12-10, 2-1) attempt at a last-minute rally.
Before McInnis took the mound, the Gators’ Larson Fontenot led off the inning with a double to right field before scoring on a RBI single by Zane Zeppuhar.
Zeppuhar led both teams with three RBIs on as many hits, producing all of St. Amant’s runs.
“We’ve been there against really good teams, and I kind of like that situation for our kids because they just kind of play hard and see how it works out,” East Ascension coach Britt Waguespack said about the Spartans in one-run games. “You always look to see who is not going to panic in that situation, and when you looked around at our guys, they were like, ‘Let’s go. Next guy up.”
The Spartans got out to an early lead with three runs in the first two innings by using a small-ball strategy.
All six of East Ascension’s hits were singles on bloopers to the shallow areas of the outfield and three of its four runs came off of sacrifice flies.
Shortstop Preston Thrash scored on the only RBI single in the second inning.
East Ascension starting pitcher Brandon Foncree (3-1) earned the win after allowing only one run on five hits, striking out five and walking five in 4.1 innings.
St. Amant pitcher Tyler Tidwell (4-1) took the loss after giving up four runs on six hits while going a full five innings.
“We played timid at the beginning in a few spots, and it cost us,” St. Amant coach Troy Templet said.
“They executed well at certain points in the game. We hit the ball hard with runners in scoring position at least three times. They played a little better than us and won by a run.”