GONZALES — It took 11 innings and nearly three hours, but East Ascension finally came up with the run it needed to take a 3-2 nondistrict baseball win over Denham Springs at Johnny Ambeau Field on Tuesday.
East Ascension’s Ryan Williams broke up a sparkling relief effort by Yellow Jackets reliever Grant Schiltz (10 strikeouts in five innings) when he smashed a one-out triple to the wall in right center field, then came home when the relay throw went into the EA dugout.
It was redemption of a sorts for Williams, who had been picked off first base after his second inning single.
“We’ve asked a lot out of Ryan, hitting in the middle of our order,” EA coach Britt Waguespack said. “He’s been struggling the last couple of games. I pinch hit for him in the sixth. It was a situational thing, but I think he took it personally. When they gave him a good pitch, he put a good swing on it. He was determined.”
Denham Springs catcher Jacob Siegel picked off two baserunners at first base in the bottom of the second inning, then came back in the top of the third to drive in the first run of the game with a triple. He scored on a wild pitch to give the Jackets a 2-0 lead.
Siegel drove in Cade Doughty who had opened the third with his second lead-off triple in three innings.
EAHS (11-7) tied the game the game in the fifth when Williams reached on an error, Trent LeBlanc singled, and No. 9 batter Preston Thrash drove them in on the fourth triple of the game.
Thrash was thrown out trying for an inside-the-park home run, and the 2-2 tie stood until Williams’ heroics in the 11th.
Doughty greeted EA starter Austin McInnis with a stand-up triple to the 400-foot mark in right-center field on the first pitch of the game. McInnis gave up a walk to Brock Batty to put runners on first and third with one out, but his infield turned a perfect 6-4-3 double play to get him out of the jam.
That missed scoring opportunity disappointed Denham Springs coach Mark Carroll.
“We didn’t capitalize early,” Carroll said. “When you get a runner on third with no outs and don’t score, it usually comes back to bite you. I thought both my pitchers pitched well, and it was a great baseball game.
“Neither team hit it too well, but the pitching had a lot to do with that.”
DSHS (12-5) followed suit in the bottom half of the first inning with a double play of its own, doubling up Reese Hebert and Jacob Thompson to end the inning.
Waguespack called it a total team win for his Spartans, but made special mention of a running catch by center fielder Noah Fontenot in the top of the 11th inning.
“That was the greatest catch I’ve seen in my 32 years of watching baseball,” Waguespack said.