Comets advance

Published 11:45 pm Friday, April 26, 2013



LAPLACE – St. Charles Catholic didn’t try anything fancy in its Class 3A bi-district round game with visiting Rayville.

Comets starter Chad McNeil fired fastball after fastball and retired hitter after hitter, and in just over 90 minutes of play St. Charles wrapped up a 5-0 victory to advance to the regional round.

McNeil (7-3) tossed a three-hitter while striking out nine and walking two. He threw 89 total pitches over seven complete innings, 60 of those going for strikes.

“We knew we were going to challenge them,” said St. Charles coach Paul Waguespack. “We threw fastball all game … we may have thrown 10 offspeed pitches. We weren’t gonna get cute.”

Said McNeil, “I just started off throwing first pitch strikes. When you do that, they’re playing your game instead of theirs. When you can put them in a hole, it makes everything so much easier … If they’re not hitting your fastball, then why not keep throwing it?”

St. Charles is set to face the winner of No. 5 Parkview Baptist and No. 28 Patterson, which was scheduled to be played Friday, after presstime.

The Comets (18-14) took an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning after Austin Weber singled and McNeil reached on an error. Brandon Zimmer did the rest, blasting a ball to right past a diving Ethan Daily in right that resulted in a two-run triple, giving SCC a 2-0 lead. Dylan Gillies followed up with an RBI single of his own to push the lead to 3-0.

“That was a big at-bat,” said Waguespack. “That’s what we preach … middle away, middle away, and he hits it to right. Then Dylan’s right behind him and he comes up big.”

Rayville (16-17) threatened to answer in the top of the second inning, after leadoff batter Richard Allen walked and Daily singled to put two on with no outs. McNeil struck out Kyle Barefield, then the Comets ended the inning on when McNeil struck out Holder Johnston and catcher Luke Poche threw out Allen attempting to steal third. 

McNeil came through with his bat in the second inning, crushing a double to plate Kameron Keller, making it 4-0.

SCC stopped another potential Rayville response when Jonathan Wallace lined out to second baseman Mason Bordelon, who flipped the ball to first to double up Nathan O’Briant to end the third inning.

SCC added a run in the fifth in Jon Brown’s groundout RBI, after back to back singles by Zimmer and Gillies.

The Comets not only put a zero on the home scoreboard under the opposition’s runs, but also in its own errors column – a combination every coach yearns for.

“When you don’t pound the zone, your defense falls asleep. That’s when errors happen,” said Waguespack. “Chad worked fast and did what we asked. I can’t say enough about his effort today.”

Said Poche, “It especially keeps me alert when he’s in that rhythm. He struck out nine, so maybe the rest of the infield gets a little bored when he’s going like that. But honestly it keeps up your focus when we’re working quickly like that.”

 Poche said he didn’t know much about Parkview Baptist or Patterson, but expected that to soon change.

“We’ll have practice at 6:15 tomorrow morning, and I know we’re gonna find out a lot about them,” he said.

“We’ve played 10 5A teams this year. Coach scheduled that to prepare us for that exact moment.”

ST. CHARLES 2, UNIVERSITY 0 – On the back of a strong pitching performance by lefty Connor Smith, the Comets capped their regular season with a 2-0 victory over University (25-6) Monday.

Smith pitched 6.1 innings of shutout ball and allowed two hits en route to the win.

The Comets scored both of their runs on the bat of Kameron Keller, whose two-run double in the fifth inning gave SCC a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

McNeil pitched the final 0.2 innings, earning a save.

The Comets have shutout their last three opponents.