ST. AMANT — Saturday was purple and gold day at St. Amant’s Gator Park as a boisterous crowd of purple-clad Dutchtown fans and gold-clad St. Amant fans cheered their teams toward a berth in the Class 5A state baseball semifinals against No. 1 seed Barbe.
The St. Amant shirts read “One team, one dream,” and the Gators dream did live on as they downed their Ascension Parish rivals 4-0 and 2-1 in two games highlighted by heroic pitching, solid defense and good fortune on the part of the winners.
“Somebody came up with that (motto) during the week and I said ‘I’m all for it,’ ” St. Amant coach Troy Templet said. “These kids have been playing like that all year. We were relaxed, and to hold this Dutchtown team to one run in two games is just amazing.”
S t. Amant 4, Dutchtown 0: In the first game, St. Amant pitcher Brennan Grant was in control all the way, while his mound opponent, Austin Bain of Dutchtown, fought control problems.
St. Amant touched Bain for two runs in the first inning when Mitchell Mayard led off the game with a bunt single and Bain walked Blaine Schexnayder and Reese LeBlanc to load the bases. Justin Duhon then ripped a double to left, staking Grant to an early lead.
Those runs turned out to be enough as Grant shut out Dutchtown with a nifty three-hitter, allowing only six baserunners in seven innings. Tyler Boeding’s single in the fifth was the Griffins’ first hit. They threatened in the sixth on one-out singles by Dylan King and Bain, but an infield fly by Evan Richardson and a fly ball out to right field ended the rally, and Grant retired the side in order in the seventh.
“When I get too excited I don’t pitch well, so I was composed,” Grant said. “I just tried to take it one batter at a time, one inning at a time.”
Bains eventually walked five batters, including at least one in each of the innings when the Gators scored.
St. Amant scored again in the third when Grant Durbin reached on an error, moved to third on a walk and a fielder’s choice and scored on an RBI groundout by Reese LeBlanc.
Brock Bowen scored the final run in the fourth when he walked and came around on singles by Mayard and Durbin.
S t. Amant 2, Dutchtown 1: Dutchtown couldn’t back up a brilliant two-hit pitching effort by Dillon Abbess, and a seventh-inning rally came up short as St. Amant completed the sweep in the second game.
The Griffins finally got on the scoreboard in the second inning of Game 2 when Payton Stafford led off with a single and scored on a groundout by Tyler Boeding for a 1-0 lead. That would be the last advantage they would enjoy, though, as St. Amant pitcher Skylar Enlow shut them out the rest of the way, and a crucial defensive lapse led to two unearned runs for the Gators in the fourth.
Mayard led off the fourth with a walk, and he and Durbin were both safe when Abbess couldn’t handle Durbin’s sacrifice bunt attempt. Durbin was out at second on a force play with Mayard advancing to third. Mayard barely made it home on a short sacrifice fly by Grant when left fielder Dylan King’s nearly perfect throw bounced off the sliding Mayard.
LeBlanc followed by striking out on a wild pitch and reaching first when the ball bounced to the screen. Duhon then came through with a single for his third RBI of the day.
Dutchtown fought to the end, and finished the bottom of the seventh with the tying run on third base and the winning run on first.
Pinch hitter Alonzo Craighton ripped a one-out double to right center field and was balked to third. After Tyler Boeding was called out on strikes, Justin Martin battled back from an 0-2 count to draw a walk. Enlow then finished his complete game by getting Aidan Hodges to fly out to left field.
“Dillongives it everything he’s got every time he goes out there to pitch and that’s the effort he gave today,” Dutchtown coach Chris Schexnaydre said. “Unfortunately, we just came up a little short.”