Last year, Sacred Heart was a young, underdog baseball team that shocked many in its journey to the Class 1A championship game as a nine seed.
This year’s Trojans team, the No. 2 seed in Class 1A, showed its maturity as they cruised to a business-like 11-0 victory over No. 18 Crescent City at Mike Miley Stadium on Wednesday. The game was called after six innings because of the 10-run rule.
With the win, the Trojans (26-3) advance to the quarterfinals, where they will face No. 7 St. Edmund next week.
“Last year, we had never been past the second round in eight years. We hadn’t been to the state title game in 21 years,” Sacred Heart coach Cody Vidrine said. “We had a team that was average, but we pulled things together at the end and made a run. It’s definitely been a big asset for what we have going on this year.”
Sacred Heart went 2-0 during the regular season against District 5-1A foe St. Edmund but despite the team’s success against the Blue Jays this year, Vidrine said that St. Edmund will provide a major test for his team on their quest to make a return trip to Sulphur and the state tournament.
“We’re going to be back home, and they’re very well coached by a guy I’ve known since my earlier days,” Vidrine said of St. Edmund coach Scott Richard. “It will be a great atmosphere, and we look forward to having a great game.”
The Trojans took control once their bats got going in the third inning and never looked back.
Jacob Lafleur gave Sacred Heart its first run by squeezing an RBI single into left field. Caleb Soileau helped his own cause on the mound by following Lafleur’s RBI hit with a soaring two-run double that crashed against the center field wall, growing the Trojans’ cushion make it 3-0.
Sacred Heart continued doing damage at the plate in the fourth inning, adding two RBI singles from Keaton Tate and Brandon Hudspeth to stretch their lead to 5-0. They added three-run innings in the fifth and sixth to put the finishing touches on the Pioneers.
Eight Trojans recorded at least one hit in the win, and seven registered at least one RBI.
“Offensively, we struggled a little bit at the beginning, but once we got a few hits it all came together for us,” said Trojans first baseman Brandon Hudspeth, who went 2-for-2 with two walks, two RBIs and a stolen base. “Lately, we’ve been getting a lot of two-out hits. …We’re just focusing on getting that runner home.”
Crescent City (15-12) came in as one of the hottest teams in the 1A playoffs, winning seven of their past nine games but couldn’t quite find its groove Wednesday.
Despite the disappointing end to the season, Crescent City coach Mario Ortiz said he was proud of the growth the team showed at the end of the year, and with only three seniors, he expects big things for the Pioneers next season.
“The middle of our season was a little bit of a roller-coaster, but to finish the season the way we did, you can’t ask for much more,” Ortiz said. “We’re going to be in contention every year, I believe. We’ve go some kids coming in and some young guys that are only going to get better and better.”