Destrehan coach Marty Luquet preaches to his team “every 90 feet is important”.
Pitcher Kade Granier underscored that mantra with emphasis, tossing the first no-hitter of his career Tuesday as the Wildcats defeated C.E. Byrd 3-0. Granier allowed only two Yellow Jackets to reach first base in the Class 5A bidistrict playoff game at Destrehan.
Granier struck out 11, including nine of the final 12 Byrd batters. The 6-foot-4 senior hit the first batter of the game and walked another in the fourth inning.
“Yes, I peeked at the scoreboard in the fourth inning,” Granier said. “But, in all honesty, that wasn’t as important as getting outs and a ‘W’.”
“Kade was dealing today,” Destrehan catcher Jacob Cambre said. “He was putting all four pitches right where we wanted them.”
Granier, a Southeastern Louisiana signee, throws a curveball, slider and changeup, in addition to his fastball.
“It’s definitely important that we defend every 90-foot,” Cambre said. “We know any mistake could put the other team closer to a run or us closer to losing a game. Kade didn’t give them many chances.”
Destrehan, the District 7-5A champions, moves on to play Alexandria in a best-of-three series that begins Friday in Alexandria. Alexandria, the No. 6 seed, defeated Carencro 7-1 Tuesday. Destrehan is seeded 11th.
Byrd pitcher John Snyder allowed only one hit before the Wildcats (25-10) got to him for two runs in the fourth and another run in the fifth.
Granier, who also bats third, led off the fourth with a walk. Sam Stein drilled a line drive single to center. He and Granier moved up a base to put runners at second and third. Brock Benedetto walked to load the bases.
Designated hitter Nathan Pilutti knocked in courtesy runner Eric Vinnett with a line drive to center, his second hard single of the game. Cambre then lofted a fly ball deep enough down the right-field line to score Steib.
In the fifth, Wildcats’ leadoff hitter Brennan Breaud singled, stole second and then raced home on Granier’s hard ground ball single that got into right field just past the glove of diving Byrd second baseman Andrew Suggs.
“I thought we did a good job of getting on base and advancing,” Luquet said. “Pilutti has hit the ball hard lately.”
In addition to his two singles, Pilutti, a junior drove a fly ball to the base of the wall in center that was caught.
Granier struck out the last two hitters on 3-2 breaking balls. He often used his breaking balls in fastball counts, resulting in strikeouts.
“We knew Byrd was aggressive with the bats,” Luquet said of the District 1 5A champions who won 10 of their final 12 games. “Kade can spot his curveball as good as his fastball, so it really isn’t much of a gamble.”
Granier struck out the side in the seventh inning. He threw 96 pitches.
“It was hot out there, but I wasn’t tired,” Granier said. “I kept my concentration and just wanted to focus on each pitch. It worked out OK.”