BRUSLY — East Ascension had no answer for Brady Richardson on Thursday night.
Three times the Brusly third baseman stepped to the plate with the bases loaded, and three times he produced runs in the Panthers’ 12-2, five-inning win against the Spartans.
East Ascension (10-8) barely had time to settle into the game before Richardson started piling on what would quickly become Brusly’s (20-1) best individual offensive performance of the season when the five-hole hitter sent a fastball over the left-center field wall for a grand slam.
It was the first grand slam of Richardson’s career and his day was just beginning.
One inning later, Richardson stepped to the plate again with the bases loaded, and while he didn’t connect for another home run, he did punch a ground ball through the third base gap to score another two runs.
Those were his fifth and sixth RBIs in only two innings, and enough for the most any Panther has produced in a game this season.
As if it were fate, Richardson found himself at bat with three runners on base in the bottom of the fifth.
He wouldn’t get a chance to see the bases loaded for a fourth time that night because he ended the game right there with a hard line drive that bounced off East Ascension shortstop Preston Thrash’s glove, scoring the two runs needed for the 10-run mercy rule to go into effect.
“Just the opportunity to come to the plate with the bases loaded three times — that’s just unreal,” Richardson said. “That means this whole Brusly team is hitting well and getting on base. You have to get on base to score runs and win games.”
Richardson called his performance “contagious” after the rest of his teammates combined for five more hits.
Catcher Connor Manola chipped in three singles and an RBI.
Brusly pitcher Tod Gauthe threw a complete game, allowing two runs on just four hits.
“Tod came out and threw a great game and the boys came out and hit the heck out of the ball,” Brusly coach Tait Dupont said. “We were hitting early, and we didn’t let up the whole game. Kids kept the enthusiasm no matter what the score was, and we kept on the gas pedal and got after it.”
East Ascension coach Britt Waguespack said the Spartans still had a chance to compete with the Panthers, even after they scored eight runs in the first two innings but failed to execute when it counted.
East Ascension went through three pitchers Thursday night, including starter Noah Fontenot who allowed six runs on five hits in 1.2 innings.
“They got off to a fast start, we didn’t get a few calls to go our way, and we let it get to our program and our process,” Waguespack said.
“We actually had a chance because we came back the next inning, we make it 4-1 before hitting it to their first baseman and getting doubled up. We felt like we had a real good chance.”