Aol Captures Baseball, Softball Championships
Michael Kiral / L’Observateur / May 25, 1998
LAPLACE – The Ascension of Our Lord baseball and softball teams capped off a remarkable sports season by capturing the River Parish Catholic Schools League championship in each sport.
The baseball team completed its season with a 9-0 record in the 10-team league. That was an improvement over last year when the Crusadersfinished 4-5.
Coach Dean Waguespack said the key to the season was a late-season stretch against Sacred Heart, St. Charles Borromeo and St. Joan of Arc.The Crusaders started with a 2-1 victory over Sacred Heart in extra innings and followed that with another 2-1 victory over St. CharlesBorromeo. The Crusaders then wrapped it up by rallying from a 4-2 deficitin the fifth inning to defeat St. Joan of Arc, 5-4.The team’s strong point was its pitching staff, led by Jason Waguespack and Derrick Gaubert.
“That was pretty much the key to everything,” Dean Waguespack said. “Iwas confident when they pitched that the other teams wouldn’t score much against them.”The Crusaders got contributions throughout the lineup with Jason Waguespack, Chance Blank and Travis Trepagnier the most consistent hitters.
Most of the players have played together for the past three years and Waguespack said that experience definitely helped this year.
“We have come a long way with the same kids,” Waguespack said. “Theystarted out in sixth grade and took their lumps. But we got moreexperience and were able to win it all.”Teamwork and tenacity led the softball team to the title with a 10-1 record with its only loss coming to Sacred Heart, 6-4. Coach Chris Heltzsaid that game was the one that woke his team up.
Ascension of Our Lord had to win its final two games to edge Riverside for the title. In the first game, Ascension trailed St. Joan of Arc #1 by 7-5heading into the sixth and final inning. The team responded with two runsin the sixth to tie the score and send the game in extra innings.
Both teams scored a run in the seventh before Ascension erupted for three runs in the top of the eighth. The Crusaders retired the side in order in thebottom of the inning for a 11-8 victory.
In the final game of the season, Ascension fell behind St. CharlesBorromeo, 7-4, after two innings. The Crusaders tied the game at four inthe fourth before each team went scoreless over the next three innings.
The Crusaders then broke through for six runs in the eighth for a 15-9 victory.
Heltz gave credit to Brittany Vicknair for a superb job on the mound after coming in in the second inning of the last game but said everybody made a contribution.
“It was a team effort by everybody,” Heltz said.
Heltz said pitching was the key not only in that final game but throughout the 12-team league. His pitching staff, one of the best in the league, wasled by Vicknair and Heather Heltz. As for offense, Heltz said he gotcontributions throughout the lineup.
“When the top of the lineup wasn’t hitting, the middle and back end was,” Heltz said.
The players picking each other up was a key to the whole season Heltz said.
“They never gave up,” Heltz said of his team. “They believed in themselvesand kept fighting. They played as a team instead of as individuals.”
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