Core, Lions out-duel Hahnville

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 17, 2000

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / May 17, 2000

NEW IBERIA – For all the baseball fans who may be getting tired of all the scoring in the game this season, Friday’s Class 5A state quarterfinal game between Covington and Hahnville was a treat.

Covington’s Ryan Core and Hahnville’s Brian Risinger matched goose eggs on the scoreboard for the first five innings before the Lions broke through in the final two frames for a 5-0 victory at Acadian Ball Field in New Iberia.

Covington (21-8) advanced to the semifinals Saturday where the Lions lost to Barbe, 10-2. Barbe went on to defeat Archbishop Rummel, 6-0, in thechampionship game that evening.

Hahnville finished at 23-8.

Core (8-3) went the distance, giving up three hits while walking one, hitting two and striking out four. Core had pitched against Jesuit in the regionalsearlier in the week and Covington coach John Dragg said it was a game-day decision to start him again.

“He’s a bull,” Dragg said of his senior pitcher who is also the starting catcher when not on the mound. “He’s a catcher on the mound.”The Lions’ defense backed Core up, recording their third straight errorless game in the playoffs.

“Our defense has been super,” Dragg said. “We haven’t made an error in theplayoffs and that’s what it takes to get here.”Risinger (9-2) kept Hahnville in the game, giving up one earned run on six hits and four walks while striking out five in 8 2/3 innings. Erik Donnaud came into strike out the only batter he faced.

“I told them they battled,” Hahnville coach Mark Sims, whose team had defeated Catholic of Baton Rouge, 1-0, Monday, to reach the tournament, said. “Last week, Catholic hit the ball right at us and we got the ‘W’. Today,we hit the ball right at them (Covington) and they got the ‘W’. That’sbaseball. You never know what’s going to happen. Core was outstanding andhat’s off to Covington. They were better than us today.”For the first five innings, it was Core and Risinger who were better than the hitters on both sides. Risinger allowed just two hits and five baserunnersthrough the first five innings. Covington’s biggest threat came in the first asOwen Clanton walked and Core reached on an error with two outs before Risinger struck out Cory Anderson to end the inning.

Core matched Risinger, allowing just one hit and three baserunners over that time. Hahnville’s biggest threat also came in the first as Brandon Kelly lined asingle to center and stole second with one out. But Core came back to getDonnaud to ground out to short and Chris Hawkins to fly out to center to get out of the jam.

Covington finally broke the stalemate in the top of the sixth. With one out,Core walked and courtesy runner Joseph Cuadrado stole second. Andersonfollowed with a single to left with Tim Sirmon’s throw home being cut off as Cuadrado scored to make it 1-0.

Hahnville looked to tie the score in the bottom of the inning as Kade Rogers led off with a double into the left field corner. A ground out to third by Kellymoved Rogers over but Core then got Donnaud to hit a soft liner to Joel Shoultz at second for the second out. Clanton then fielded Hawkins’ highchopper to first, flipping to Core for the third out.

Covington added four runs in the top of the seventh, sending 10 batters to the plate. With one out, Josh Joiner lined a double to right-center andadvanced to third as Shoultz reached on an error. After Shoultz stolesecond, Duane Graham hit a chopper to Kelly at short. Kelly threw home butJoiner’s slide knocked the ball away from Hawkins, giving the Lions a 2-0 lead.

Following a ground out to third by Reuben Dykes, Clanton lined a double into the gap in left-center, scoring both Shoultz and Graham. An intentional walkto Core and an infield single by Anderson loaded the bases. Brad Fussell thendrew a walk, forcing in pinch runner Leif King for a 5-0 lead. Donnaud came into pitch and struck out Jesse Collins to end the inning.

Hahnville battled back in the bottom of the inning as Sirmon was hit by a pitch and Mike Picard lined a double over the third base bag to lead off the inning. But Core fielded consecutive grounders by Matt Caire and JeffWilliams and got Risinger to pop up to third to end the game.

“It’s been great,” Sims said of the season. “The kids played great. I’m soproud of them for what they did to get here. Our goal was to finish theseason on a Saturday and we just came up one day short.”

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