West St. John edges St. James

Published 1:46 pm Friday, March 2, 2012



EDGARD — It’s been a good start for new head baseball coach Ronald August at West St. John — or as it should be stated these days, the still undefeated West St. John Rams, who moved to 3-0 Wednesday with a win over rival St. James, 7-6.

With two on and no outs, pitcher Austin Howard retired the final three Wildcat batters of the game, including two strikeouts.

“Coach is always telling me to keep my composure,” said Howard. “To just play my game every time out. That’s what I came back to today.”

Howard earned the save after coming on in relief of starter Dontre Turner, who earned the win. Howard pitched 2.2 innings of scoreless relief, striking out three and allowing two hits. He walked two.

“Austin is a real competitor,” said August. “He came out and threw strikes, which is what we need him to do. He’s a leader on the baseball field, the quarterback of the football team, and you expect it from him. He’s a real good kid.”

Logan Aubert drew a walk and Cameron Scioneaux singled to left to start the seventh inning for St. James, then a passed ball left runners on second and third with no outs. Howard got John Boughton to pop out, then struck out Blaise Hymel and Cody Hymel to end the game.

St. James led 5-0 in the game after Austin Tabor’s RBI single in the second inning; the Wildcats put up four in the first.

But West St. John turned things around quickly, starting in the second inning after back to back walks earned by Timothy Nelson and Quantae Gaudia and a single by Howard loaded the bases with one out. Rashan Smith socked a double to deep left to plate two runs, then Jarius Moll grounded out to bring home another run.

The Rams began the next inning the same way, and earned similar results when Damond Pierce and Gaudia each walked. Lawrence Williams laced a hit to right to bring home a run and make it 5-4, then Howard tied the game with an RBI single. Two runs scored on an error to put WSJ ahead by two.

“We battled back today,” said August.

The Wildcats drew within one in the top of the fifth, after Colby Belton reached on an error and Aubert doubled; Scioneaux socked an RBI single up the middle to make it 7-6.

With two on, Howard came on in relief. He fielded a bunt back to the mound and flipped it to Pierce, who got the tag at home for an out; Howard walked Blaise Hymel to load the bases, but struck out Ashton Adams to end the inning.  And to move the Rams, and August, to 3-0.

“Taking over a real young program, but it’s been a great experience,” said August. “We had a nice crowd out here today. The kids are having fun, and I’ve gotta say I’m liking it here.”ͅ