St. Michael the Archangel’s baseball story has been consistent. Get the lead and then hold on to it.
The Warriors flipped the script by three, scoring three runs in the bottom of the sixth to notch a 4-2 come-from-behind victory over Plaquemine in a District 6-4A opener played Tuesday at SMHS.
Tyler Ezell tossed a four-hitter with five strikeouts as St. Michael (13-7, 1-0) claimed a crucial victory over the Green Devils (13-6, 0-1), one of two challengers in 6-4A. The teams meet again at 4 p.m. Thursday at PHS.
“A game of inches,” St. Michael coach Johnny Bernhard said. “We talked going into this game about how balanced this district is this year. We’re fairly inexperienced, and I think you saw some of that today.
“The experience with Tyler Ezell on the mound showed. Really, that’s true of our whole pitching staff. We’ve got Jonathan Lofton and Evan Becnel. We feel like we’ve got a chance with any of those guys on the mound as long as we play defense behind them.”
The Warriors did indeed play defense, committing just one error that did not play a role in Plaquemine’s scoring. A couple of seeing-eye hits — one by LSU signee Christopher Reid and the other by Nolan Tiersch — ignited the sixth-inning rally. Reid and Tiersch each finished 1-for-3.
Just as impressive was PHS starter Devin Washington, who allowed just two hits before the sixth and also struck out five. No player had multiple hits. Joe Keller was 1-for-3 with a run scored for PHS.
It all came down to the sixth inning. Reid’s pop fly single fell between PHS third baseman Keller, shortstop Dalton Brigalia and left fielder Kolby Harris.
Tiersch came up next and lofted a slicing drive to right field that got just past the glove of a diving Austin Boudreaux to score pinch runner Luke Hebert and tie the game.
“Devin (Washington, PHS starting pitcher) did a great job, and it is a game of inches,” Plaquemine coach Scott Allen said. “You can’t take anything away from them (St. Michael). They hit it where we weren’t. They don’t panic.
“We hit one down the line that was about three inches foul that could have led off the inning. Things like that happen.”
Michael Smith followed Tiersch’s triple with a high bouncer to third that Keller fielded and threw to the right of the plate, giving Tiersch the opening he needed to score the go-ahead run. Designated hitter Leighton Waitz singled to score Smith.
“I was just trying to backside whatever I hit, so I could advance the runner,” Tiersch said. “I didn’t know it fell in until I got to first base, and then I shifted gears to go as fast as I could to get to third.”
Ezell retired the Green Devils in order in the top of the seventh to close out the win.
“I think this means we can win district,” Ezell said. “When you can find a way to beat a good team on what wasn’t our best day, that’s a good thing.”
St. Michael took a 1-0 lead in the second on Chad Alello’s RBI single that scored courtesy runner Scott Terrell. Plaquemine scored twice in the fourth. Keller singled and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Boudreaux. Chris Cox scored on an error.
“You know, it’s not football, so we have them again on Thursday,” Allen said. “We’ll see what we can do.”