Rams rumble past Lions for district win

Published 11:45 pm Friday, April 4, 2014


LAPLACE – As the late arrival of umpires prompted a 90-minute delay, West St. John was anxious to get things underway in its District 8-1A matchup with Ascension Christian Thursday. 

Once the game commenced, the Rams showed it. 

West St. John scored four first inning runs and Austin Howard pitched a complete game, two-hit shutout as the Rams took a 7-0 win over the Lions. 

Howard struck out eight and walked no batters en route to the win.

“Everyone was anxious to get started, but I had to stay relaxed,” said Howard. “I couldn’t  be tight out there. When we got the early lead, that only helped me be even more comfortable.”

Dauntae Gaudia’s two RBI double got things started in the first inning after Howard, Lavonta Augusta and Quantae Gaudia each reached to load the bases. 

“That was one of my first hits with the bases loaded,” said Dauntae Gaudia. “It was real big for us to get up fast on them.”

Augusta and Dauntae Gaudia each scored on an error later in the inning to give WSJ a 4-0 advantage.

That score held until the fourth inning, when Lorenz Pierre walked and Keith Miller and Augusta singled to load the bases with no outs. Quantae Gaudia and Anfernee Lumar lauched back to back RBI singles to the outfield to push two more runs across. 

“When we got a few runs … I hate to sound like a broken record, but when Austin’s on the mound, I have to feel very confident,” said West St. John coach Greg Joseph.

Miller’s two-out triple in the fifth resulted in West St. John’s seventh run when Miller took off and scored on a wild pitch.

Howard worked quickly, pounding the strike zone early and often with his fastball. 

He allowed no hits nor walked anyone until there were two outs in the fourth inning – his only base runner allowed prior to that came on an error and was wiped out by a Rams’ double play. 

Miller nailed down three hits to lead WSJ at the plate. 

Dauntae Gaudia, Quantae Gaudia and Lumar each had two for the Rams. West St. John (8-7, 3-2) collected 10 hits overall.

Joseph said that the offensive effort was good to see from a Rams team that he said has hit the ball fairly well all season, but hasn’t often strung together hits like today. 

“Sometimes it’s come down to awareness for us.’

“We’ve let a few potential big innings get away,” he said.

Payton Bahlinger took the loss for Ascension Christian (6-7, 2-3), pitching the complete game.

Joseph credited his players with stepping up despite the Rams missing a pair of key starters in Rashaan Smith and Da’Jon Taylor.

“Those guys are important players for us. We had some young guys step in for them,” said Joseph. 

“They didn’t make every play, but they played extremely hard. That’s all I ask.”

“We move to 3-2 through the first round of district,” said Joseph. “We’ve got that rematch coming up with St. John-Plaquemine. It’s no secret. They know they’ll see Austin. We’ve gotta go over there and try to finish it off this time.”