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IRISH OUTSLUG COMETS IN SEASON OPENER

By Michael Kiral / L’Observateur / February 27, 1998

LAPLACE – Grace King erupted for five runs in the sixth inning for a 15-11 victory over St. Charles Catholic in the season opener for both teams atComet Field Monday afternoon.

Steven Bunford pitched the final three innings for the Irish to gain the victory. Brandon Laiche, the Comets’ third pitcher of the day, took theloss.

Grace King trailed 10-9 heading into the top of the sixth when Kurt Munster led off the inning by drawing a walk from Laiche. After a strikeout by Nick Settoon, Bryan Wyatt singled to right field, sending Munster to second.

Laiche got Ray Dees to pop up to second for the second out, but Jeremy Dartez kept the rally alive with a seeing-eye single into left field. Anerror on left fielder Ty Monica allowed Munster to come in with the tying run and Wyatt to reach third. Norman Corass followed with a single toright to score Wyatt.

Kevin Munster loaded the bases with a single to center. Andrew Robertsonthen cleared the bases with a double to the left-center field wall. JeffBuras followed with a walk, but Laiche was able to get out of the inning by striking out Kurt Munster.

The Comets looked to rally in the bottom of the inning as Brian Horvath led off with a walk against Bunford. Tom Froehlich followed with a single tocenter and John Clement walked to load the bases with nobody out.

Bunford got Monica to pop up to short and Jarrett Maurin to fly out to Kurt Munster in foul territory in left field. Wayne Stein came through with asingle into left, scoring Horvath and reloading the bases, but Bunford got out of the jam by getting Laiche to ground out to short.

Grace King got the run back in the top of the seventh as Wyatt doubled into right-center field with one out. Dees followed with a single to center toput runners on the corners. Following a pop up by Dartez, Corass groundedto Clement at second. Clement bobbled the ball, allowing Wyatt to score.Bunford walked Jason Gonzales to lead off the bottom of the inning, but then retired the final three batters to preserve the victory.

Grace King jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first as Settoon led off with a walk against Stein. Stein struck out Wyatt and Dees beforedartez singled and Corass was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Munster andRobertson followed with walks to bring in Settoon and Dartez before Stein got Thomas Jones to ground out to end the inning.

The Irish built their lead to 3-0 in the top of the second as Settoon singled, went to second on a wild pitch, advanced to third on a ground out and scored on a single by Dees.

St. Charles Catholic bounced back in the bottom of the inning, erupting forseven runs to take a 7-3 lead. Steven Faucheux started the rally with alead-off single to left. Horvath followed with a drive into the left-centerfield gap, plating Faucheux with the Comets’ first run. Following a fly outby Darrin Gaubert, Clement was hit by a pitch by Corass, the Irish starter.

Corass struck out Monica but walked Maurin to load the bases with two outs. Stein then launched a shot over the canal behind the right-centerfield wall, clearing the bases and giving the Comets a 5-3 lead.

Laiche kept the rally alive by drawing a walk. Gonzales followed with atwo-run shot that cleared the left-center field wall, giving the Comets a four-run advantage.

The Irish quickly bounced back, rallying for four runs in the top of the third to tie the score. Dartez led off the inning against Comet relieverMatt Weber by reaching on an error by Horvath at short. Corass followed byreaching on an error by Faucheux and third and Kevin Munster singled to center to load the bases.

Weber then walked Robertson and Jones to force in two runs. After aflyout by Kurt Munster, Settoon hit a sacrifice fly to left to score Kevin Munster. Wyatt followed with a single to center to score Robertson withthe tying run before Weber got Dees to fly out to end the inning.

The Comets retook the lead in the bottom of the inning as Gaubert reached second on an overthrow by Jones. Following a walk by Clement, Monicabrought in Gaubert with a single to right.

St. Charles Catholic caught a break in the top of the fourth as Dartezmissed first base on a lead-off double and was called out. The Irish shookoff the miscue after a strike out by Corass as Kevin Munster and Robertson singled and Jones walked to load the bases. Kurt Munster was then hit by apitch and Settoon walked to force in two runs and giving the Irish a 9-8 lead.

St. Charles Catholic again took the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning.Clement led off the inning by reaching on an error by Wyatt. Monicafollowed with a grounder that went through Bryon Morehouse at first into right field. Clement was thrown out on the play by Settoon trying toadvance to third.

Maurin followed with a double into the left field corner, scoring Monica with the tying run. Stein then lined a single into center, bring in Maurin togive the Comets a 10-9 lead. Stein finished the day 4-for-5 with six runsbatted in.

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