Wildcats knock off St. Amant in Reserve

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 10, 2010



RESERVE – It looked like it was going to be another tough loss for East St. John after it allowed District 6-5A foe St. Amant to erase a late 7-4 lead and take an 8-7 lead in the top of the seventh inning.

But nobody’s ever called the Wildcats a group of quitters, and nobody will begin to do so after Thursday’s game.

East St. John rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh, then again in the bottom of the ninth, and LeBaron Sylvester’s RBI single later in that inning lifted ESJ over the Gators, 10-9, for their second district win of the season.

“I wanted it and I know my team wanted it,” said Sylvester. “We’ve been on a losing streak and we wanted to turn it around, starting today.”

Said ESJ coach Ryan Sims: “This is a big win for the kids. It’s all about them. We got down twice at the end, they fought back each time. Tonight, they can go home with smiles on their faces, because they deserve it.”

It denied St. Amant (15-11, 5-2) a season sweep of the Wildcats. The Gators had won the first two games of the season series, including a 6-1 win at St. Amant on Tuesday. The Gators remain in second place in District 6-5A, but now trail leader Destrehan (16-9, 7-0) by two games.

East St. John (10-12, 2-5) trailed 9-8 in the bottom of the ninth when Daniel Franklin drew a leadoff walk from St. Amant pitcher Dillon Morin. Jarvis Johnson bunted him to second, then Franklin advanced to third on a passed ball. Another passed ball allowed Franklin to dash home to tie the game.

“He’s the best they’ve got, but we made them go to him early,” said Sims of Morin, who entered the game in the third inning after ESJ knocked each of the Gators’ first two pitchers out of the game. “We wore him down over time.”

Andre Simmons drew a walk and the Gators intentionally walked Reynaldo Young, who homered on St. Amant’s first pitch of the game.

Both base runners advanced on a passed ball, setting up Sylvester to hit a grounder to right field and score Simmons for the win.

The Wildcats led 7-4 after five innings before St. Amant began to chip away. A Kenny Wilkins RBI single drew St. Amant within two runs in the sixth. Morin lined a single up the middle with two on and one out in the seventh to make it a one-run game.

That prompted Sims to call upon ace Bryton Trepagnier to come on in relief with two on. He got Lee Elisar to ground out, but Wilkins came up big again with a two-RBI single that put St. Amant ahead, 8-7. Trepagnier got a fly out to end the inning.

ESJ’s back to the wall, Kody Duhe led off with a single in the bottom of the seventh. Franklin doubled with one out and Andrew Taylor’s sacrifice fly tied the game up.

Both Trepagnier and Morin allowed no runs in the eighth. In the ninth, Elisar’s RBI double off of Simmons — who started the inning in relief — made it a 9-8 game.

But ESJ had one push left in it.

ESJ led 3-0 after one inning on Young’s home run and Duhe’s two-RBI double. It scored two more on a St. Amant error and a Trepagnier RBI single in the second.

“Coach told us to keep fighting and keep our heads up, because no matter what we’d have the last at bat,” said Sylvester.

The Gators cut into the lead in the third by scoring three runs on a Elisar RBI double and a Wildcats error. Young’s bases loaded infield single in the third pushed the lead back to 6-3. St. Amant team added a run on an error in the fourth and ESJ added one via error in the fifth. A big moment for ESJ came in the top of the fourth inning when Franklin, a freshman pitcher, entered with one out and the bases loaded and allowed no runs to score.

Ashton Lewis (2-2) recorded the win after entering in the ninth.

“It was a real hard fought game today,” said Sims. “The only shame is that somebody had to lose.”