Daigle pitches Braves past Wildcats
Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, April 1, 2014
By RYAN ARENA
LAPLACE — H.L. Bourgeois broke open what was a two-run game with five runs over the sixth and seventh innings, besting host East St. John 8-3 in District 7-5A play Monday.
It was a key early district game for two teams that struggled in pre-district play. With the win, H.L. Bourgeois moved to 2-1 in district, leaving the Braves tied with Central Lafourche atop the 7-5A standings (as of Monday evening). Conversely, ESJ dropped to 1-2 in 7-5A play.
“We know that to get to the playoffs, we’re going to need to win district,” said ESJ coach Shan Williams. “From here on in, we’ve got to grind it out, game by game.”
The Braves have won three of their last four games. On Monday, it rode a strong complete game effort by pitcher Jeremy Daigle, who tossed a two-hitter. He walked three and struck out seven.
“He kept us off balance all gam, mixed it up. We couldn’t seem to hit the curveball today,” said Williams.
Said H.L. Bourgeois coach John Gatlin, “He hit his spots real well. I was a little worried about his velocity, knowing how this team (ESJ) hits. But he did a great job today.”
ESJ pitcher Phil Adams got off to a good start for ESJ (3-15), but the Wildcats struggled defensively early on. The Braves (4-14) got out to a 4-0 lead on four unearned runs, three scoring directly on ESJ errors.
Adams went 5.2 innings, allowing six runs, two of those earned, on nine hits and three walks. He struck out four.
“He was up at about 100 pitches. He hit his pitch count … we’d have liked to have let him stay out there but it was time,” said Williams. “He wasn’t getting ahead in the count early but then he got into a groove.”
Bourgeois scored the first three runs of the game in the second inning, Derek Richard scoring the first on a dropped fly ball and Tanner Verdin and Lawyer Leggett each coming around on an errant throw to third. The Braves took a 4-0 lead in the third inning when Nick Bonvillain was caught up in a run down but escaped the ESJ tag to score at home.
I’Leke Brown stepped up in the bottom half of the third to give his team some life.
After Ryan Foster walked and Phil Adams reached on error, Brown drilled a ball deep into the gap in left-center, bringing home both runners for a two-RBI single.
“I’Leke’s been clutch all year,” said Williams. “He’s made consistent good contact. Today, he put a good charge into one and it gave us a boost.”
Both pitchers dug in, with only two total batters reaching in the fourth and fifth innings.
But Bourgeois got to Adams in the sixth after Richard led off with a single.
Verdin walked to put two on and with two outs, Dalton Louviere and Todd Adkins each singled home runs. Another scored on an ESJ error to make it 7-2.
Each team plated another run, but ESJ couldn’t rally. After Derrick Johnson led off the bottom of the seventh with a single, Donald August hit a sharp liner that was caught, leading to a double play to curtail chances of a rally.
Louviere finished 2 for 3 with an RBI. Verdin went 2 for 2.