LHS Bulldogs hold off Comets, 7-5

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, March 19, 2013



LUTCHER – As the lyrics say of a great one-two punch, “If the right one don’t get you, then the left one will.”

It’s an appropriate reference when dealing with the Lutcher pitching staff. Maybe you’ll avoid LSU commitment Jared Poche, but that could very well mean you’re just dealing with Tulane commitment Corey Merrill instead. That was the case for St. Charles Catholic Friday at the Lutcher tournament, as Merrill tossed six 3-hit innings to earn the win in a 7-5 victory over St. Charles.

Merrill struck out seven and allowed one earned run to move to 2-0 this season and help lift Lutcher to an 11-2 mark. He walked five.

“We know we have big expectations this year,” said Merrill. “We know we’ve got a great defense behind our staff. I feel like we’re on our way to doing some really good things.”

Said Lutcher coach Davey Clement, “He’s been such a pleasant surprise. We saw him struggle last year, but he’s so much more consistent now.”

St. Charles coach Paul Waguespack said that Lutcher’s 11-2 record isn’t a fluke by any stretch.

“They’re as good as advertised,” said Waguespack. “We’ve played them twice, and got the LSU commitment the first time and now the Tulane commitment … He did what a good pitcher does. He made us hit his pitch, got our hitters in a count they weren’t comfortable in. Give him credit.”

The Bulldogs led for most of the game after rallying back from a 2-0 first inning deficit, but had to hold off a late St. Charles (6-9) rally in the seventh.

With two on and none out,  Lutcher leading 7-2 and reliever Bailey Brack on the mound, Austin Weber singled to load the bases. . Kameron Keller singled down the left field line to make it 7-3.

That brought up Chad McNeil, who had reached base in six of his previous seven plate appearances at the LHS tournament. McNeil knocked in a run but Brack and the LHS defense mitigated the damage, recording a fielder’s choice ground out at second.

“McNeil … what a player,” said Clement. “We hadn’t seen him not hit it hard all weekend. You could say we were slightly nervous.”

From there, Brack got Brandon Zimmer and Luke Poche to fly out, ending the Comet threat.

“We felt like we had a chance,” said Waguespack. “We didn’t quit. We felt like we were one pitch away from tying it up.”

Clement said the late SCC charge didn’t surprise him.

“I know Paul’s got a real scrappy team, always,” said Clement. “They’re gonna fight you down to the last out, guaranteed.”

It’s the second win of the season for Lutcher over SCC, after the Bulldogs recorded a 4-2 win on Feb. 24.

“I don’t ever remember sweeping them, or them sweeping us in years past,” said Clement. “This is always a great rivalry and these games are always great to be a part of.”

Connor Smith took the loss for SCC, starting and going 4.1 innings. He allowed six runs (four earned) on eight hits and two walks, while striking out five.

The Comets got rolling early when McNeil doubled in the first inning to knock in Weber. Luke Poche’s RBI single two batters later made it 2-0.

After Sully Martin and Zachary Zimmer reached with no outs in the bottom half of the inning, though, SCC had a chance to get out unscathed but failed when a throwaway on a potential double play ball hit by Chase Calderera with one out led to a run scoring.

In the bottom of the third, Lutcher took its first lead when Jared Poche slammed a home run over the wall in left-center, plating two runs and making it 3-2.

LHS tacked on a run in the fourth on Jonathan Oubre’s RBI single, then two more in the fifth on RBI singles by Nick Bourgeois and Steven Roussel. Sully Laiche’s single in the sixth extended the lead to 7-2.

The Comets fell on Saturday at the LHS tournament to Catholic-New Iberia, 3-2, and to Erath, 7-2.

Lutcher went on to finish tournament play with a 7-3 win over Catholic-New Iberia and a 5-3 win over Erath.