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WILDCATS OPEN DISTRICT WITH WIN OVER TARPONS

By Michael Kiral / L’Observateur / March 25, 1998

RESERVE – A team’s record can be deceiving, especially early in the season.

East St. John went into its District 6-5A opener against South LafourcheFriday afternoon with a 5-8 record. But those losses included last-inninglosses to Salmen, Hammond and Archbishop Shaw, some of the best teams in the area. Those close losses in a competitive predistrict schedulehelped a young Wildcats’ team grow up quickly.

“It brought the team closer together and helped them play better as a team,” East St. John coach David Guillot said. “If we were able to competewith them and were able to stay close with them, I knew we would do good in district.”So far, the tough schedule has paid off for the Wildcats as they defeated the Tarpons, 8-2, for Guillot’s first victory in district play. East St. Johnimproved to 6-8 while South Lafourche fell to 4-7 overall.

Samson Monica started and went five innings for the Wildcats, allowing one run on two hits while striking out four and walking one. Monicaimproved to 2-3 on the season with the victory.

Monica’s record was also deceiving. He loss to Shaw and Hammond despitetaking no-hitters into the fourth inning in both games. The bullpen hadbeen a weak spot for the Wildcats but James Brock overcame early trouble Friday after relieving Monica in the sixth to pick up his first save of the season.

Monica allowed an one-out single to Kyle Plaisance in the top of the first but got out of the inning as right fielder Kent Roussel caught Lance Reynolds’ slicing fly ball along the right field line and doubled Plaisance off first.

East St. John pushed a run across in the bottom of the inning as RoydellWilliams led off with a single to center, went to second on a ground out by Jeremy Mitchell, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a ground out by Kerry Watkins.

After Brock made a diving stop at second to end the second inning, South Lafourche tied the score in the top of the third. With two outs, Tarponstarting pitcher Lucas Bychurch reached as Seraphiane Martin bobbled his grounder to third. Courtesy runner Gavin Landry then stole second andscored as Robie Lasseigne singled to right.

East St. John regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth. With one out,Martin reached as Ryan Mayet bobbled a grounder to third. After Rousselwalked, Jerome Anderson doubled into the left-center field gap to score Martin. Roussel then came in to score and Anderson advanced to third on awild pitch by Bychurch.

With two outs, Brandon Mason walked to put runners at the corners.

Williams followed with his second hit of the game, a single to left, to score Anderson and giving the Wildcats a 4-1 lead.

South Lafourche threatened in the fifth as Marc Lorraine reached second on a throwing error by Martin. But after a walk by Bychurch, Monica gotLasseigne to ground out to short to end the inning.

East St. John added to its lead in the fifth after Kerry Watkins led offwith a walk. Bucky Angelette came in to relieve Bychurch and threw twowild pitches, allowing Watkins to advance to third. Monica then helpedhimself, launching a shot over the left field wall to give the Wildcats a 6- 1 advantage.

Brock came in to pitch in the top of the sixth and got Plaisance to ground out to Mitchell at first. Mitchell made a backhanded stop in the hole andflipped it to Brock covering the bag. Reynolds followed with a grounder inalmost the same spot, but this time, Mitchell’s throw went past Brock, allowing Reynolds to go to second. Angelette followed with a slowgrounder to short that Watkins threw past first, allowing Reynolds to come around to score.

Brock walked Mayet and Chad Gautreaux to load the bases with two outs but got out of further trouble by striking out Lorraine.

The Wildcats increased their lead to 8-2 in the bottom of the sixth. RandySutherland led off with a walk and went to second on a ground out by Brandon Mason. Williams followed with a single to center with Sutherlandsliding under the tag of Reynolds at the plate.

After Williams was caught stealing third, Mitchell walked and went to second on a wild pitch. Watkins followed with a double to right to bring inMitchell. Brock ended the game by retiring the side in order in the top ofthe seventh.

“Brock struggled but he was able to come back and do what he is supposed to do,” Guillot said.

Guillot said the team made a point to work on pitching and defense early in the season which allowed the Wildcats to remain in every game. He saidthat the team’s batting average has been high but that it has trouble driving in runs.

“We did much better today,” Guillot said. “The big thing that helped outtoday was that we were able to get timely hitting.”East St. John travels to H.L. Bourgeois Thursday and Destrehan Saturday indistrict action.

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