Nearly a year ago Austin Andrishok was preparing for his middle school graduation.
Fast-forward to the events of Saturday and in the high stakes Class 5A state playoffs Andrishok pitched beyond his years in helping Catholic High advance to next week’s quarterfinal round series.
Andrishok pitched 3.1 innings of scoreless relief and second-seeded Catholic snapped a tie game with two runs in the sixth inning without a hit, sweeping No. 18 Holy Cross in the best-of-three regional series, 6-4, Saturday at Catholic High.
“This is definitely the biggest situation I’ve gotten in so far,” Andrishok said. “I was pretty calm when I got out there. The adrenaline stepped in.”
Catholic (34-3) extended its win streak to 12 games, including Friday’s 9-5 win over Holy Cross, and hosts the Denham Springs-Destrehan winner in a best-of-three series beginning Friday.
“It’s very rare you can get a freshman that can go up on that stage against a team of that caliber and just go play baseball, and that’s what he did,” Catholic coach Brad Bass said of Andrishok. “The mound’s still 60 feet, 6 inches away, and he did a great job. I’m so proud of him.”
Holy Cross (20-15) wiped out Catholic’s 3-0 lead on a three-run homer from Christian Clayton in the third. The Tigers took their first lead in the two-game series an inning later on Chris Turpin’s RBI double to center field.
Andrishok (6-0) inherited two base runners after Wes Robinson’s infield single signaled the end of Catholic starter Kyle Candilora’s day after 3.2 innings and 52 pitches. It took Andrishok two pitches to get a groundout and end the inning.
Andrishok allowed two singles and pitched around two errors, punctuating a perfect seventh inning with a strikeout of clean-up hitter Tre Turner to end the game.
Catholic, which had nine hits, didn’t follow the conventional route to scoring the tying or go-ahead runs in the fifth and sixth innings.
Center fielder Simon Prevot forced in the tying run, getting hit by Holy Cross starter Brendon Taravella (2-2) with the bases loaded on a full count in the fifth.
“Everybody wants to be the guy that gets the big hit,” Bass said. “For those guys to do that and move the line for the next guy up shows the type of character and what these guys are about.”
Catholic followed the same black and blueprint in the sixth when the Bears, who were hit a total of 13 times in the series, made the Tigers pay for three of their six hit batsmen.
Connor Bowen and Josh Smith were both hit, sandwiched around a perfectly placed bunt from Cole Johnson (4-5), to load the bases and designated hitter Charles Soileau (2-2, three RBIs) drew a one-out walk to make it 5-4.
Prevot was then plunked by the first pitch from Clayton, the second reliever of the inning, to score Johnson.
“What we focus on at practice is when you’re given the time to do something for the team, it’s your job to do that,” Prevot said.
“Sometimes it’s not going to be easy, and you’re going to have to fight and do whatever it takes.”