DENHAM SPRINGS — Opelousas Catholic’s Logan Constantine was one of the smallest players on either roster.
The 5-foot-7 Constantine made the biggest play of the Louisiana High School Coaches Association Baseball All-Star weekend, smashing a three-run game-winning home run in his only at-bat to give the West an 8-7 come-from-behind win over the East on Saturday afternoon at North Park’s A.B. Netterville Field.
“I didn’t think it was going out,” Constantine said of his line drive home run to left field. “I thought it was going to hit the wall. Right when I touched first base I heard everybody cheering, and that’s when I knew. You can’t ask for anything better. This is something I know I’ll remember forever.”
Constantine, an outfielder bound for LSU-Eunice, gave the West a sweep in the two-game event. He also was voted Saturday’s Most Valuable Player for the West. East MVP Austin Millet of East Ascension gave the East a 7-4 lead in the top of the ninth with a two-RBI double.
“That’s baseball for you. You never know what’s going to happen,” said Millet, a Southern Mississippi signee. “This was a great experience. It’s something every high school player should want to do.”
Only two players had multiple hits. The West’s Ty Gurr of Livonia was 2-for-2 with a run scored. Family Christian’s Titus Rogers finished 2-for-4 with an RBI for the East.
Natchitoches Central’s Connor Collins pitched the final three innings to pick up the win.
“The guys did a good job of setting the table in the last inning,” West coach David Jordan of Erath said. “They were able to go with the pitch and not try to do too much.”
The game was different from the West’s 6-1 Friday victory when three pitchers limited the East to one hit. The East doubled its hit total from Friday in the top of the first. University High’s Brandt Broussard Northshore’s Nico Cuccia both singled. A double play got West starter Bryson Dogie of Acadiana out of trouble.
In the second, the East also had two base runners and third innings, but did not score. The West got another double play in the third to stay keep the game scoreless.
The East broke through in the fourth. Neville’s Brian Barefoot was hit by a pitch, went to second on a groundout and scored on Rogers’ second hit.
The West quickly countered and took the lead. NVHS’ Broussard was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the fourth. Courtesy runner Constantine later scored on a sacrifice fly by Notre Dame’s Gavin Bourgeois. Sacred Heart’s Westey Fontenot reached on an infield hit and moved to third when Jennings’ Cade Henry reached on an error. Fontenot scored on a wild pitch to give the West a 2-1 lead.
The second East pitcher Dutchtown’s Evan Richardson, led off the fifth with a single. Courtesy runner Sam Steib of Destrehan stole second and scored on a single by Denham Springs’ Carl Guidry.
Northside Christian’s Joseph Trahan and Comeaux’s Tyler Polk singled to lead off the seventh for the West. One run scored on a double play and the other an error. But the East tied it at 4-4 in the top of the eighth. St. Frederick’s Wil Daniels singled and Mandeville’s Justin Nussbaum walked. One run scored on a fielder’s choice and another scored on an error.
Millet’s two-RBI double to right-center field keyed a three-run top of the ninth. Millet also scored on a wild pitch to make it 7-4.
The West’s Gurr, New Iberia’s Zack Robicheaux and Evangel’s Miller Parker opened the ninth with straight singles. A groundout by Anacoco’s Jason Ortiz scored the first run and set up Constantine’s walkoff homer.
“Wow, what a high school game,” East squad Burke Broussard said. “You’ve got to tip your hat to that kid. What a way to end it for them.”