When the Class 2A bidistrict pairings were released last week, Univeristy High School baseball coach Burke Broussard did not know much about DeQuincy, but he did know enough about playoff baseball that they would pose a threat.
Thanks to pitcher Manny Miles, the fourth-seeded Cubs were able to pull out a 4-0 win Thursday, and now await the winner of Friday’s game between Sterlington and Doyle.
“I didn’t have a lot of time to scout them all that much, and they easily could have beaten us,” Broussard said of DeQuincy. “When you are not getting a lot of hits, your pitcher has to put up some zeroes and your defense needs to play well and we did that.”
The shutout loss was a tough way to end DeQuincy’s season, but coach Brady Carlson said he was proud with the way his 29th-seeded Tigers fought on the road.
“University is very good, but I’m proud of my guys,” he said. “We should have made a couple of routine plays, and good teams like University capitalize on that.”
Miles (9-0) continued his stellar sophomore campaign with his shutout performance, allowing three hits and striking out nine.
“I have really good defense, so I just concentrated on throwing strikes,” Miles said. “At the same time, I didn’t want to give them anything too easy to hit.”
After giving up a one out single in the second inning, Miles retired the next 10 batters he faced, including striking out the side in order in both the third and fifth innings.
The only adversity he faced was when the Tigers loaded the bases with one out in the seventh inning. But after a quick mound visit from Broussard, Miles got the final two batters to pop out in the infield to seal the win.
“He got a little tired at the end, but we let him gut it out,” Broussard said of Miles. “He has been pounding the zone all year and our kids feel good playing behind him.”
Miles helped himself out at the plate with a two-run single off his counterpart, Kaleb Hollie, in the sixth to give the Cubs a late four-run lead.
Hollie (4-2), who was still wearing a brace on his right knee from an ACL injury he suffered playing football for the Tigers, pitched a complete game as well and had a no-hitter through the first three innings. But a couple of infield errors and clutch U-High hits proved to be the difference.
“They made us pay for every little mistake we made,” Carlson said. “Hollie did one heck of a job for us, and I’m proud of him. He still wasn’t back to full health, but he wanted the ball and he came out and competed.”
Hollie struck out two with just one walk and scattered four hits, but gave up three earned runs in his six innings.
The Cubs got only their second base runner off Hollie in the fourth inning when Gino Marruci drew a lead-off walk. Steven Sensley followed with a double to the right-field wall to put runners on second and third with one out. Marruci scored the game’s first run on a grounder by James Kern that was booted by DeQuincy third baseman Chase Dyer.
Sensley, who had two of U-High’s four hits, came up again with runners at the corners in the sixth and lined a single into right field, scoring Jake Wharton and moving Marucci to second. After a bunt by Kern moved both runners up a base, Miles came through with a single to left, giving the Cubs a comfortable 4-0 lead.
“I was fooled with a slider on the pitch before,” Miles said.
“On the next pitch, I just tried to sit back and throw my hands at the ball and I was able to get a decent base hit.”