In a matchup of the best teams in District 6-5A, St. Paul’s got back into the race with a 6-4 win over Northshore on Wednesday at Ned Eades Field.
St. Paul’s (15-9, 10-2) moved into a tie in the loss column with the Panthers (20-10, 11-2).
Never trailing, the Wolves pushed across a pair of runs in the first inning. William Heurtin led off with a walk, and Austin Barrios singled. On an attempted pickoff of Heurtin at second base, a pair of Northshore errors allowed him to score to make it 1-0. Kyle Schimpf drove in Barrios a batter later with an RBI single.
The Panthers pushed across a pair of runs in the third on back-to-back RBI singles from Josh Marques and JP Lagreco. Catcher Nick Chaisson was responsible for the next two runs for St. Paul’s with an RBI single in the second and a RBI double in the fourth.
But the story of the game was Wolves right-hander Carlo Graffeo. A Southeastern commitment, the right-hander pitched a complete game to improve to 4-2, allowing four runs on nine hits, striking out six and not walking a batter.
“We knew we were in for a dogfight,” Graffeo said. “This was going to be a tough game against a very good Northshore team. Fortunately enough, we were able to get the job done at the plate, and I was able to keep pounding the strike zone and allow my defense to do the work. I just think, at the end of the day, we were the team that wanted it more.”
Graffeo said the Wolves, who took advantage of four Northshore errors, were able to score at almost every opportunity.
“That’s important,” he said. “You would be amazed how much more confidence you have defensively out on the field after taking advantage of the scoring opportunities you earn. It creates a lot of enthusiasm and energy for you as a team and that always benefits you on and off the field.”
Gary Cavallo (6-3) took the loss for the Panthers, allowing four runs (one earned) on six hits in four inning. He struck out three and walked three.
St. Paul’s has a pair of games left in district play, hosting Fontainebleau on Thursday and Covington on Friday. Northshore hosts Slidell on Thursday.
Should the teams finish with the same district record, the squad with the highest power ranking will be declared the champion. Heading into the game Wednesday, St. Paul’s was ranked 21st, while Northshore was 26th.
“We are right back in this thing,” Graffeo said of the district race. “We believe we have the chance to win this thing, and we are going to work hard to try and make it happen these last two games of the regular season.”