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RESERVE CHRISTIAN PLACES SECOND IN STATE TOURNAMENT

Michael Kiral / L’Observateur / May 11, 1998

RESERVE – Reserve Christian used a triple play to get out of a fourth- inning jam on its way to a 7-4 eight-inning victory over top seed Houma Christian in the semifinals of the Louisiana Christian School Athletic Association state baseball tournament Saturday afternoon.

Reserve Christian, the fourth seed in the tournament with a 4-4 record, lost 11-3 in the finals to third-seed Assembly of New Iberia later in the day.

Houma trailed 4-2 in the fourth inning of the semifinals but had runners on second and third with nobody out. Pitcher Nick Riley then caught a linedrive and threw to third where Dustin Young got the runner in a run-down between third and home. Catcher James Hardeman applied the tag andthrew to left fielder Nathan Louque covering third to get the runner at second.

Reserve Christian coach Brian Sullivan said making that play was the key to pulling the upset.

“I believe we wouldn’t have won the game without that play,” Sullivan said.

Houma came back to tie the game with single runs in the sixth and seventh. But Reserve Christian bounced back to score three in the eighthas the seventh through ninth hitters in the lineup – Hardeman, Louque and Jeremy LeBlanc – reached base. A passed ball on a strikeout that allowedAaron Vogel to reach base, a walk by Riley and a single by Cliff Vogel brought in the three runs.

“The bottom of the lineup did it for us,” Sullivan said. “They started thedrive and got us going.”Reserve Christian took a 4-1 lead after two innings. In the first, an errorby Houma, a walk by Riley and a single by Cliff Vogel scored two runs. Inthe second, Hardeman led off the inning with a walk. Two outs later, MikeCarriere walked and Aaron Vogel drove in both runners with a double.

Houma Christian came back in the third with a run to cut the deficit to two.

Leading hitters for the Eagles were Cliff Vogel, who went 3-for-4, and Louque, who was 2-for-4 out of the eighth spot.

“We hit the ball all the way through the lineup,” Sullivan said. “Onethrough nine hit the ball and we played solid defense.”The victory was a measure of revenge for the Eagles, who had lost to Houma twice during the regular season, 9-2 and 12-3.

Errors contributed to the loss in the finals to New Iberia, but the game really came down to pitching. New Iberia’s top pitcher did not pitch in thesemifinals while the Eagles had used their top two hurlers in defeating Houma.

“The things we did right in the first game, we flubbed in the second,” Sullivan said. “They hit the ball in the gaps a lot and we hit the ball rightto their fielders a lot.

“But the big difference in the game had to do with pitching. Their pitcherwas probably the top pitcher in the league. He was the fastest pitcher inthe league. Nobody else was close to him.”Sullivan was in his first year as coach of the Eagles after graduating last year from Southern Indiana. He said he is excited about next year when theEagles move to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association and play in Class B.

“I am excited to see what will happen,” Sullivan said. “How we adjust andwhat level we are going to be at. I am excited to see what we will be likeand what kind of talent we will have.”

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