DUTCHTOWN — It was there to be had for the St. Amant Gators.
Earn a victory at District 5-5A champion Dutchtown, earn a share of that title and increase the Gators’ chances at a coveted top eight playoff seeding and the likelihood of hosting the first two rounds that comes with it.
Propelled by starting pitcher Skylar Enlow’s performance and timely hitting from an unlikely power source in Justin Mumphrey, the Gators (24-8, 8-2) scattered scoring during the crucial mid-to-late innings for a 5-0 win Thursday night over the Griffins (22-11, 8-2).
A win by Catholic over East Ascension Thursday night forged a three-way tie for the district championship.
“We haven’t won a district championship since 2000,” St. Amant coach Troy Templet said. “It’s been 14 years. We’ve won state since then, but not district. I told the team, now I can put that district (banner) up there. To win a district as tough as this one says a lot about our kids. Not much had to be said before this one. It’s Dutchtown, and it’s district.”
Getting baserunners was not an issue for either team.
Both put multiple leadoff runners on base and moved those runners by sacrificing the first two innings. Those threats were ended by strikeout, groundout and flyout.
In the fourth, the Gators made their move.
Brennan Grant stole second base after reaching on a single.
Two at-bats later, Grant scored on Mumphrey’s single for a 1-0 lead. It was Mumphrey’s second hit of the season.
St. Amant added a second run by Jacob Desoto on a passed ball to make it 2-0.
“After losing to them a couple days back, we knew we needed to split the series to win (district),” Mumphrey said. “This meant a lot. It’s great to be a part of this, but it was really pitching and my teammates that won it. Coach had been on me about not (swinging at) the first pitch. It worked.”
The Gators extended their advantage in what proved to be a decisive, three-run sixth inning. Once again it came off Mumphrey’s bat.
A double to left field scored Desoto, making the score 3-0. Then, it was a Dylan King single scoring Justin Duhon for a 3-0 lead. The run prompted a pitching change from starter DHS starter Evan Richardson to Dillon Abbess.
But a Grant Durbin RBI single followed, scoring King and providing the final margin.
“We thought we’d been playing well and gaining some momentum heading into tonight,” Dutchtown coach Chris Schexnaydre said. “We just laid an egg.
“Give credit where it’s due. Skylar Enlow played great. And they got runners on base and took advantage of the opportunities they had. Like I told my players, the season’s broken into three parts. We lost the last game of the second part. Time for the third part.”