Mandeville’s Joseph Bulovas and Slidell’s Jesse Mollere had a duel Tuesday. But despite the pitchers’ brilliant performances, one had to lose.
In the end, Slidell scratched across a run in the top of the seventh inning to defeat Mandeville 1-0 in a District 6-5A game at Mandeville’s Walter B. Sirera Field.
The late score marred Bulovas’ gem. The junior allowed only three hits and struck out nine in seven innings. But after Parker Autry singled sharply to left in the seventh, the momentum shifted to Slidell.
Pinch runner Calvin Scully advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Ethan Gillespie and moved to third on a passed ball.
Bulovas then threw a wild pitch that rolled to the backstop. Scully raced home and beat the throw to the plate to score the only run.
Mollere matched Bulovas blow for blow. The junior left-hander scattered four hits and struck out seven in the shutout victory.
“I actually was sick all day,” Mollere said, sniffling through what he said was a head cold. “But I wanted to battle.”
Mandeville (7-11, 2-2) looked like it would score in the bottom of the sixth when two batters walked with one out. Mollere then hit Evan Guillory with a pitch to load the bases.
But on a squeeze play, No. 9 batter Mike Romano apparently missed the signal from coach Mark Weinmunson, and that allowed Slidell (7-11, 2-2) to tag out pinch runner Thorn Maragne, who had left third and was headed home.
Romano lined out to right field to end the inning. The Skippers got two more runners on in the bottom of the seventh, but couldn’t score. Mandeville stranded 11 runners.
“I think (Mollere) put the leadoff batter on in just about every inning, but he worked out of some really tough situations,” Slidell coach Clay Harris said. “That was a gutsy performance.”
Mollere ran into a bit of trouble in the bottom of the fourth, when Mandeville loaded the bases on walks to Wil Crawford, Bulovas and Mike Romano. Mollere coaxed a lazy grounder to second to end the inning.
Mandeville had a chance to take an early lead in the first, but runners were left stranded at second and third after Mollere recorded two quick strikeouts. The Skippers got a runner to third base in the second inning as well, but Mollere caught Romano looking at a third strike to end that threat.