In his first year at the helm of the Hannan baseball program, coach Chris Yeager has his team one win away from capturing the district championship.
Paced by a 15-run third-inning outburst, the Hawks defeated 10-2A rival Pope John Paul II 21-1 Wednesday night in Slidell. The game was called after the fifth inning because of the 10-run mercy rule.
“Games like this are satisfying because you came out and took care of business and got the win,” Yeager said. “But in games like this there really isn’t any intensity level and not as enjoyable as winning a tight game.”
Taking the first two games of the series from the Jaguars, Hannan (15-6, 6-2) goes for the sweep against Pope John Paul II at 4 p.m. Friday. A Hannan win secures the 8-2A title for the Hawks. A win for Pope John Paul II on Friday gives Northlake Christian the 8-2A crown. Hannan will send freshman left-hander Timothy Ruffino to the mound Friday.
“The score when we start the game on Friday night is going to be 0-0,” Yeager said. “Tonight’s game just got away from Pope John Paul II. But they are fully capable of coming out on Friday afternoon and beating us. We have to be ready on Friday night. We are in complete control of our own destiny, and as a coach that is really all you can ask. We control our fate.”
All the runs Hannan needed came in its first at-bat. Second baseman Nick Lucido led off the game with a walk and was retired on a Quinn Heinold fielder’s choice. Heinold stole second base and Dale St. John singled. Centerfielder Gino Guarino’s RBI single scored Heinold to make it 1-0. With two outs, Nick Lagalante lined a two-run double into right field scoring St. John and Guarino.
After pushing across two more runs in the second inning, the Hawks erupted for 15 runs on eight hits in the third inning. Batting around twice, Lucido drove in a run, St. John had a double and three RBIs, Guarino drove in a run, Andrew Barre had a double and a RBI, Nick Lagalante had a pair of singles and an RBI, Ian Distefano had an RBI single and Austin Knower had two hits and three RBIs in the third.
“Games like this are fun,” Lagalante said. “You can use them for a confidence boost. It is fun for everybody to get reps, especially in an important district race like this. We knew coming into this week that we controlled our own destiny in terms of this district race. We don’t take anything for granted. We just try to play hard each and every day.”
Jordan Holcombe picked up the win for the Hawks, allowing one unearned run on one hit, striking out one and walking one.