BRUSLY — Less than 48 hours after regaining the District 7-3A lead with an emotional nine-inning victory over University High, Brusly High stepped outside of league play for a new challenge.
Once again, the Panthers were up to the task.
Senior Austin Reich carried a no-hitter and shutout into the seventh inning before settling for a complete-game, two-hitter in Brusly’s 6-1 win Saturday over Class 2A power Kinder at Charles Marionneaux Sr. Field.
“I did, but tried to tell myself I wasn’t so I wouldn’t jinx myself,” Reich said whether he was aware of his no-hitter before his final inning.
Reich (6-2) came back on three days of rest following a 5-2 loss to University High — a 100-pitch outing — to mow through Kinder’s lineup with two walks and nine strikeouts.
Reich threw 61 of 92 pitches for strikes, but after an extended bottom of the sixth in which Brusly (20-6) scored four times and made it 6-0, the Northwestern State signee wasn’t quite as sharp.
Kinder center fielder Zach Rider lined a 1-1 offering up the middle for a leadoff single and wound up scoring on Stagg Credeur’s two-out single through the hole into right field.
“I played baseball (Marucci National) with the guy that finally got the hit,” Reich said. “I knew what to throw him and as soon as the ball left my hand I regretted it.”
Brusly coach Tait Dupont said with the potential for a three-day stagger in between state playoff games, the decision to bring Reich back after Tuesday’s complete-game outing was experimental in nature.
“We wanted to look at him and he threw better than he had all year,” said Dupont, whose team defeated U-High 5-4 in nine innings on Thursday. “We may need to go three days of rest all the time with him.”
Second baseman Austin Rivault (1-for-2, 2 RBIs) gave Brusly a 2-0 lead over Kinder (14-9), the reigning Class 2A state champion and District 4-2A leader, in the second inning with a RBI-triple in front of a diving Connor Fawcett in right fielc with Ben Bergeron on first base and later scored on a wild pitch.
Losing pitcher Gavin Sonnier (4-3) allowed that one hit until the sixth when Brusly loaded the bases with no outs on a walk and a pair of singles from designated hitter Evan Daigle and third baseman Austin Watts.
A passed ball enabled courtesy runner Kade Tolar to score, and a throwing error to the plate on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Todd Gauthe resulted in another run.
The Yellow Jackets used three pitchers in the inning, who were responsible for four walks, with Rivault and Caleb Dupont both forcing in runs on bases-loaded passes.
“We have to learn from this,” Kinder coach Kenny Courville said after his team had its eight-game win streak snapped. “This is why we’re here; to see quality arms and get ourselves better. Games like this make you better.”