Shaw coach Kirk Bullinger spent more than 45 minutes talking to his team after Tuesday’s Catholic League opener at Wesley Barrow Field.
Perhaps the coach needed that extra time to let his team’s come-from behind victory sink in.
Shaw put together an improbable rally and stunned St. Aug 7-4 in eight innings.
“We tried to hand the game to them, but they handed it back to us late in the game,” Bullinger said. “I know it was a heartbreaking loss for them. It was about to be a heartbreaking loss for us. I’m glad I’m on the right side of it.”
The Eagles rallied for four runs in the seventh to tie it and then won in extra innings.
“We didn’t play well enough to get that win for the first six innings,” Bullinger said. “But at the end of the day, we got the ‘W.’ It’s not how you draw it up. They opened the door for us, and we took advantage of it in the seventh inning.”
Adrian Ferrell, the Eagles’ No. 9 hole hitter, drove in what proved to be the game-winning run in the eighth with a double to center field that drove in Ryder Matherne.
“I started off real slow but had to hit that switch in the eighth inning,” said Ferrell. “We had to fight hard.”
St. Aug (9-5-1) was one routine pop fly away from winning its Catholic League opener after going winless in league play last season.
The Purple Knights, led by a brilliant performance by pitcher Cornell Carter, led 4-0 in the seventh inning. With two outs, Shaw’s Dylan Black hit a pop-up, but St. Aug shortstop Justice McCoy couldn’t hold on to it. Two runners scored on the error. Two more scored on an error and a wild pitch.
“It was a tough loss,” St. Aug coach Ryan Simms said. “We just have to bounce back, We played well for 6.2 innings. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t come out on top. Now we just have to respond to adversity. This is one of those games that can tear a team apart. But I have a good group of guys. We just have to find a way to win.”
Shaw (6-5) didn’t get its first hit until the fourth inning when Matt Keller and Keith Meir both singled. But Carter worked his way out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam with two strikeouts.
“He battled and held them at bay,” Simms said. “I wanted him to finish, but his pitch count was too high. He deserved to win it because he kept them off balance from the first inning to the seventh.”
St. Aug second baseman Brandon Watson went 2-for-2 at with a pair of singles, but left in the fourth with a hamstring injury.
The Purple Knights took a1-0 lead in the first inning when leadoff batter Darryl Landry scored on an error. They could have done more damage in the inning but left the bases loaded. But for the next five innings, that one run seemed to be plenty for St. Aug with Carter throwing a gem on the mound.
Shaw’s Matt Keller, a McNeese State football signee, finished with two hits and also drew a bases-loaded walk in the eighth.
Matherne, who replaced starter Cory Nini in the sixth inning, earned the win for the Eagles.
Shaw will host John Curtis at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
St. Augustine will play Holy Cross on Thursday.