Riverside Squeezes By Post 366/195

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 15, 1998

Michael Kiral / L’Observateur / June 15, 1998

RESERVE – Much has been made lately about the “gorilla ball” that LSU and others played during the recent College World Series.

But the Riverside Extra Inning Club and East St. Charles Post 366/195showed that “small ball” can work just as well in their Second District East matchup Tuesday afternoon. And it would be the smallest hit, a bunt,that would make the biggest difference as Dustin Duhon scored on Sean LeBlanc’s safety squeeze in the bottom of the seventh to give Riverside a 5-4 victory.

The Extra Inning Club improved to 6-2 overall and 5-0 in district play while Post 366/195 fell to 4-6 and 1-4.

“We dodged a bullet,” Riverside coach Tommy Fernandez, whose team was coming off an emotional 3-2 victory over Schaff Brothers Wednesday, said.

“They played well and we played pretty well. I am sure (East St. Charlescoach Mark Willoughby) is proud of his kids and I am proud of mine.”Willoughby said his team played with intensity after coming off a 19-8 loss to Cretin Homes Wednesday.

“The kids played well,” Willoughby said. “We were in it to the last playand that is what I am most proud of. They came to play baseball today andthat is what it is all about.”Duhon led off the bottom of the seventh with a walk against Vincent Maggiore. Ryan Rome followed by getting hit by a pitch and both runnerswere sacrificed along by Blake Duhe.

On a 3-0 count, LeBlanc laid down a bunt down the third base line.

Maggiore charged the ball and threw home with Duhon getting in under the tag of Ben McClaren for the winning run.

Paul Labiche (1-0) picked up the win in relief of starter Chris Bourgeois who went 5 1/3 innings. Maggiore went the distance, giving up eight hitswhile walking six walks and striking out nine.

East St. Charles had rallied from a 3-0 deficit to take a 4-3 lead in thebottom of the sixth. Averien Veneralla opened the inning by reaching on anerror by second baseman Brandon Delaneuville.

Jason Pick followed with a grounder deep in the hole between first and second and beat Delaneuville’s throw to first as Veneralla hustled to third. Danny Krieger’s force out scored Veneralla to make the score 3-1.Post 366/195 loaded the bases on a hit by pitch by pinch hitter Mike Catalano and a walk by Justin St. Pierre. With the runners breaking on a 0-1 count, Kenny Perrier laid down a squeeze, bunting the ball past Bourgeois, to score Krieger and Catalano to tie the score.

Craig Naquin followed with a single to left, scoring St. Pierre to give EastSt. Charles a 4-3 lead. Labiche came in to relieve Bourgeois andsandwiched strikeouts around a walk to get out of the inning.

“We were looking to get close,” Willoughby said. “I told them that if wegot two runs in the sixth we go could make a run at it. We got a good buntand good baserunning and got something going our way.”The Extra Inning Club came back to tie the score in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Keith LeBlanc singled to left and went to second asVeneralla’s throw went past Perrier. LeBlanc then stole third and scoredas McLaren’s throw went into left field.

One out later, Joey Poirrier walked and stole second but Maggiore struck out Sean Delaneuville to end the inning.

Post 366/195 threatened in the top of the seventh as Jason Pick led off with a walk and courtesy runner Todd Picou was sacrificed to second by Krieger. But Labiche came back to strike out Nathan Maggiore and St.Pierre to keep the score tied.

The Extra Inning Club jumped out on top in the bottom of the first as Keith LeBlanc led off by reaching on an error and Brandon Delaneuville walked.

Poirrier then lined a double to left, scoring LeBlanc to give Riverside a 1- 0 lead.

Maggiore prevented further trouble by retiring the final three batters of the inning.

Both teams threatened in the middle innings but Veneralla and Nathan Maggiore combined to throw out Sean Delaneuville at the plate in the third and Bourgeois pitched out a bases-loaded jam in the fourth.

The Extra Inning Club added two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Poirrieropened the inning with a walk and advanced to second as Sean Delaneuville beat out a bunt.

Duhon then laid down a bunt with Poirrier scoring and Delaneuville going to third base as Maggiore’s throw went wide of first. Rome’s ground out tothird scored Delaneuville to make it 3-0.

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