ST. AMANT —The tone of the East Ascension-St. Amant baseball game changed in the time it took St. Amant’s Justin Duhon to swing a bat.
The Spartans were handling their District 5-5A rivals 8-3 in the fourth inning Friday, when the Gators senior hit a monstrous grand slam over the left field scoreboard, sending East Ascension scrambling to maintain its suddenly fragile lead.
The visiting Spartans had enough left in them, though, to pull out a 10-9, eight-innings win in a continuation of play from Thursday’s rainout and also secure first place in District 5-5A.
The Gators tied the game at 8 with a run in the bottom of the bottom of the sixth. Both teams scored a run in the seventh for a 9-all deadlock.
St. Amant couldn’t shake the mistakes completely, though, as the eventual game- winning run was scored by Hayden Adams after three consecutive wild pitches to batter Cole Holley.
East Ascension entered Friday with a 1-0 lead after rain and lightning forced a postponement of play just before the start of the bottom of the first inning Thursday.
“I don’t think the wheels fell off,” East Ascension coach Britt Waguespack said of St. Amant’s comeback. “Our kid threw a good pitch, and their kid hit a good pitch. Unfortunately, it was grand slam.
“I knew (East Ascension) wasn’t going anywhere, and they didn’t see the end story at 8-2. Hats off to them.”
Third baseman and relief pitcher Adams led East Ascension (15-13, 6-1) with a single, a double, two RBIs and three runs.
Adams closed the game on the mound with two strikeouts, three walks and two hits for a lone run in two innings.
Duhon’s grand slam sparked a 6-2 run for the Gators (16-11, 5-2) that helped set up extra innings, but more importantly, it energized St. Amant, which committed seven errors in the first four innings, leading to five unearned runs for the Spartans.
Duhon went 3-for-4 with a game-high five RBIs.
“Justin had a great game (Friday) that kept us in the ballgame,” said St. Amant coach Troy Templet. “We just weren’t able to back him up in certain situations with runners on base when he got big base hits.”
Several errors were partially attributed to wet field conditions after Thursday night’s downpour.
Templet said the weather had nothing to do with his team’s struggles, but East Ascension left fielder Ben Thompson — who registered a crucial RBI single in the seventh inning on a line drive to center field to keep the game tied — said it was difficult to maintain footing.
“Balls that normally skip to you stop. You get the ball and try to throw it in and your foot slips,” Thompson said. “I feel like a lot of plays would have been different if it weren’t for that.”