DONALDSONVILLE — For six innings Thursday night, things were going, well, perfect for the Ascension Catholic baseball team.
But Jacob Dunn's perfect game and the Bulldogs' lead both evaporated in the seventh, and Opelousas Catholic eventually won 5-4 in nine innings to win the opener of the teams' Division IV best-of-three quarterfinal series.
“We battled all night against their pitcher, we got the hit by pitch on our leadoff man and finally got it going with clutch hitting by our 2-4 hitters,” OCHS coach Justin Boyd said.
ACHS took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on Bryce Leonard's RBI single, driving in Dunn. The Bulldogs added another run in the second, when second baseman Baylor Leonard led off with a double and scored on a fielder’s choice by Dunn.
Pitcher Bryce Rozas of Opelousas Catholic settled down after that and held the Bulldogs scoreless to the seventh inning.
“We had some chances early to extend our lead but just couldn’t scratch any more runs against their guy," ACHS coach Gee Cassard said. "Dunn pitched well for us, his pitch count was low; give them credit for battling, they are a good club."
In the seventh, the Vikings tied the game on three consecutive hits from Jordan Luna, Drake Guidry and Jace Sloan. OCHS nearly took the lead, but Bulldogs third basemen Brooks Leonard made a spectacular catch to double off Guidry at third base. Bulldogs relief pitcher Bryce Leonard then got Rozas on a strikeout to end the seventh and send the game to extra innings.
In the ninth, the Vikings' 2-through-4 hitters got it going again. Luna singled, Guidry walked and Sloan doubled home the go-ahead run before an error allowed two more runs for a 5-2 OCHS lead.
ACHS loaded the bases in the ninth with two outs, and catcher Lex Melancon drove in two with a double. But Guidry ended the game as he induced a groundout from Jacques Husers.
“Rozas kept us in the game and Guidry was pitching on fumes," Boyd said. "We expected a battle in this series.”
The teams will play Game 2 at 5 p.m. Friday, and the Bulldogs will need a win to extend the series.
“Still like our fight, and we have to win two games," Cassard said. "They are good; we just have to take it one game at a time."