Two days after watching McKinley score eight runs to nearly extend Tuesday’s District 5-5A game another inning, East Ascension had more than enough incentive to keep its foot on the gas pedal in Thursday’s rematch from start to finish.
“We have a saying: ‘respect them all, fear none’,” EA baseball coach Britt Waguespack said. “If you give McKinley an inch, they’ll take a mile. Baseball is baseball and we’re not taking anyone lightly.”
East Ascension had eight different players drive in runs, got a combined one-hit shutout and was flawless in the field on its way to a 12-0 mercy-rule victory at McKinley in five innings.
The Spartans (11-12, 2-0) won for the fifth time in their last six games, including a 19-8 home triumph in five innings over the Panthers.
“It’s real important to have the attitude and play it like it’s any other team and go out there and win,” EA third baseman/pitcher Cole Holley said. “Baseball’s a game of ups and downs. Anything can happen and you can lose at any point.”
EA, which had 10 hits, scored three times in the first and added four more in the second for a commanding 7-0 lead.
Tristan Babin’s sacrifice fly and Josh McInnis’ two-run, bloop single to right capped the opening inning, with the Spartans going back to work against losing pitcher Joe Reynolds (4-2) with four runs on three hits in the second.
Second baseman Charles Stevens, who had 6 RBIs on Tuesday, ignited the second inning with a run-scoring single just inside the first-base bag and into right field. Babin (1-for-2, 3 RBIs) followed with a 2-run triple, and Holley (2-2) added a RBI-single to center.
“That’s big to come out to their place and get some runs on the board,” Holley said. “That changes their attitude. They come out expecting to win, and to see the other team score three runs after they just lost, they’re thinking, ‘they’re here to win again.’ ”
EA starter Hayden Adams (5-2) faced two over the minimum batters in his three innings, walking three and allowing a lead-off double to left to Max Martin in the second, the lone hit in the game. Holley and Noah Fontenot each worked an inning in relief.
“Coach Waguespack does a great job with their program,” McKinley coach Brant Fowler said. “They’re real aggressive on the bases. Our kids are getting there but I tell them they’re not mentally focused all of the time.”
A sacrifice fly from Kade Waguespack made it 8-0 in the third before EA put the run-rule into effect, taking advantage of a throwing error to score four runs (one earned).
Shortstop Zack Gautreau dropped in a single into shallow left field for a pair of runs and pinch-hitter Paul Delatte lined a double into the left-center gap to score another run.
“It’s the people who can stay disciplined enough to swing at good pitches, throw strikes and make routine plays,” Waguespack said. “I tell our kids if we can do that, more often than not, we’re going to win a lot of games.”