Led by Chris Thibodaux’s four-hitter and Matt Clark’s grand slam, Episcopal defeated Christian Life 10-2 Saturday at Crusader Park.
Thibodaux struck out five and benefitted from Clark’s blast in the second inning.
“I had been seeing curveballs all day and I kind of swung through a few earlier in the at-bat,” Clark said. “(Christian Life relief pitcher Sterling O’Bryant) left me one down the middle and a little high and I just got a good swing off.”
Clark’s grand slam was the exclamation mark in a second inning that saw Episcopal score seven runs. The inning featured RBI singles from David Tatman and Trent Dykes. Nick Patty scored from third after Christian Life catcher Nick Harris dropped a third strike and failed to throw out Matthew Distefano.
After going up by such a large margin so early in the game, the challenge was on Episcopal coach Travis Bourgeois to keep his team focused.
“We’re worrying about winning each inning,” Bourgeois said. “Even though (the second inning) was seven-nothing, the next inning is nothing-nothing.”
Situational hitting was another area that Bourgeois wanted his team to focus on and his team came through. Of the 10 runs scored, eight came with two outs.
“We had been having difficulties in getting runners over and doing our job,” Bourgeois said. “The good thing is the kids are seeing results on that. It’s a sign of good things but we have to continue to get better.”
Christian Life starter Jacob Williams only lasted 1.1 innings before being replaced by Sterling O’Bryant. Williams allowed three hits, walked three and gave up three runs, two of which were earned.
O’Bryant finished the final 5.1 innings and gave up eight hits, three walks and seven runs though only two were earned. O’Bryant also struck out 10.
Christian Life cut the deficit to 7-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning by way of consecutive RBI doubles from Davis Alford and Williams, who manned center field after being pulled from the pitcher’s mound.
Aside from Clark, Episcopal’s Trent Dykes was another key contributor to the Knights batting. Dykes accounted for four of his team’s 10 hits, including a triple to lead off the fourth inning, and drove in three runs.
The Knights were especially aggressive on the base paths, stealing six bases.
District play begins next week for Episcopal and Bourgeois said his team is ready for the challenge.
“You don’t have a lot of time for failure, so you have to be playing your best ball and treat it like there’s no tomorrow,” he said. “We got to start honing in and focusing on what makes us a good ballclub.”