Maurepas baseball coach Anthony Gregoire summed up his team’s 13-0 loss to top-ranked Family Christian Academy on Tuesday in one simple sentence.
“You can’t throw the ball down the middle on them,” Gregoire said. “They just hit the ball too well.”
The Flames proved that early and often, chalking up five runs in the first inning before adding to its lead every trip to the plate en route to a five-inning, run-rule victory against the District 6-C rival Wolves.
The rout began on the backs of the FCA seniors as the Flames (18-4, 1-0) lit up Maurepas (13-7, 1-1) starter Jace Berthelot, who was suffering from strep throat. FCA racked up 10 hits and drew six walks in the game.
“I’m very pleased with the effort,” FCA coach Rick Smith said. “This is a veteran team … and they’re very mature. They’re focused and regardless of the situation or who we’re playing, if we’re up or we’re down, you kind of see a real steady appearance from them, and they just go about their business. I was pleased to see that carried on into district now.”
FCA didn’t miss a beat as the first three Flames reached base and scored, starting with a leadoff single from Tyler Randall.
Fellow senior J.J. Holmes then walked, and senior second baseman Ben Chauvin knocked a RBI single into right field for the first run.
The early outburst continued as a passed ball scored Holmes, and a sacrifice fly from Mason Diaz scored Chauvin. Senior third baseman Richard Hopkins doubled into right field, and senior pitcher M.J. Frazier helped his own cause by launching a two-run home run to right-center field to give himself a five-run cushion after one inning.
“Their pitcher threw strikes, but we did a good job of barreling up,” Smith said. “We have a strong offensive club, really 1-9. They didn’t have greedy at-bats. The wind is blowing out a little bit, but you didn’t see guys swinging for the fence or anything. They kept their plan.”
Whatever the plan was must have worked, as FCA continued to light up the scoreboard with the more runs in the second thanks to an RBI single from Holmes and a sacrifice fly by Chauvin. Holmes also scored on another passed ball, giving the Flames an 8-0 lead after two innings.
The gap widened as FCA tacked on three more runs in the third and two more insurance runs in the bottom of the fourth.
“They’re well-coached, they’re disciplined at the plate and if you give something to them, they’re going to make you hurt,” Gregoire said. “They did it to us. They’re just good.”
Berthelot was removed in the bottom of the second, while his counterpart was having much better luck on the mound.
Frazier pitched four innings, limiting the Wolves to two hits, despite not having his best stuff.
“When he has his curveball, working you would think he’s the reincarnation of (San Francisco Giants pitcher) Barry Zito from back in the day,” Smith said of Frazier. “But (Tuesday) he didn’t have the curveball, and he was throwing the fastball and hitting his spots and moving it around enough to succeed. He did a good job, but I wouldn’t say that he had his best stuff today.”
The two teams will meet again, April 20 at Maurepas.
“Hopefully we’re a little more healthy, and we can give them a little bit of a better game,” Gregoire said. “Our goal is, and we said it from the beginning, “I don’t know if they can beat us three times.
“Hopefully we’ll meet them in the state finals, and that’ll be the one we steal from them.”