Given the pregame disposition of pitcher Tyler Ezell that included a fever and sinus infection, St. Michael the Archangel baseball coach Johnny Bernhard wasn’t certain what to expect from his senior right-hander.
A complete game, shutout victory and near no-hitter probably weren’t on his radar.
Ezell was perfect through 3.2 innings and carried a no-hitter into the seventh when Collin Roberts’ two-out double spoiled the feat but couldn’t overshadow St. Michael’s 8-0 win Friday at John Edward Mouton Field.
“Tyler wasn’t feeling his best physically,” Bernhard said. “He just gutted it out, and you like to see a senior step up like that, and I think the team responded. After he set them down the first few innings it got our offense in a rhythm, got a lead and built from there.”
St. Michael (8-4) continues play Saturday at home in the South Louisiana Shootout against Benton at 10 a.m. and Teurlings Catholic at 2:30 p.m.
Ezell (4-0) registered the first two outs in the seventh — including a hard liner to second baseman Dwain Varisco for the second out — when Roberts took the first pitch and rocketed a shot over the head of center fielder Garrett Hamilton.
It was only the third ball Ezell allowed out of the infield with third baseman Christopher Reid, an LSU signee, recording his sixth assist on a groundout to end the game.
Ezell threw 57 of 91 pitches for strikes, retiring the first 11 batters he faced until a walk and hit batsman. He didn’t allow a runner to third base when Scelfo threw to Reid to catch Simon Landry attempting to steal to end the third.
“He’s been struggling a bit on the mound and when he came out firing, we knew it was going to be a good day,” St. Michael catcher Ross Scelfo.
St. Michael backed Ezell with single runs in the first and third innings with Reid scoring on Michael Smith’s groundout and Scelfo’s sacrifice fly, respectively.
Ponchatoula starter Nathan Tribble (1-1) yielded a pair of singles through four innings and was on the verge of getting out of the fifth before running into trouble.
Smith’s hustle resulted in a two-out, infield single to keep the inning alive for Scelfo (2-for-3, 3 RBIs) who singled in a run and designated hitter Leighton Waitz added a two-run double for a 5-0 lead.
“We’re not good enough to dodge any mistakes and any little mishap bubbles over and it gets bigger and bigger,” Ponchatoula coach John Brechtel said. “I guess that’s the sign of a young team.”
The Warriors, who had eight of their 10 hits in their final two at bats, knocked Tribble out with three consecutive hits and a walk with Reid (2-3), Tiersch (3-4) and Scelfo all driving in runs.
“When we’re struggling we’ve learned to scrap for runs and that’s what we did today,” Scelfo said. “We’ve also got some power and when those guys come up we expect big things.”