Granier leads DHS to win at ESJ, 7-5A crown

Published 11:45 pm Friday, April 25, 2014


LAPLACE — His team needing one more victory to clinch an outright District 7-5A crown, Destrehan baseball coach Marty Luquet knew better than to take host East St. John for granted Wednesday. Trips to Reserve have traditionally resulted in a wild seven-inning ride.

But nothing keeps order like a true staff ace. 

Kade Granier allowed one hit over four shutout innings and earned the win in Destrehan’s 9-0 victory over East St. John, cementing one last district championship for Luquet, who has announced he will retire at the end of the school year.

Luquet is currently in his 12th year as Destrehan coach and in his 25th as a coach overall. 

His team is giving him a fond farewell so far. Destrehan went 13-1 in district play, in the process sweeping its chief local rivals Hahnville and East St. John. DHS dropped its first district game and has won 13 in a row.

“It’s been nice,” said Luquet. “Our kids were determined to win a (district) championship for me in my last year, and they’ve promised me another one too. We’ll have to hold our breath and see on that one.”

Granier has been a big part of the success. 

The senior right-hander has a microscopic 0.25 ERA in district play, having allowed just one earned run against 7-5A foes. He moved to 9-0 with Wednesday’s win.

Overall, the Destrehan staff has dominated this season, especially of late. DHS has allowed just 15 runs in 14 district games, more than half of those coming in a 16-8 win at South Lafourche. 

“In 14 district games, we have seven shutouts, and it’s hard to lose when you throw shutouts,” said Luquet. 

It was senior day for East St. John, with senior I’kee Brown making his first start of the season after being limited to hitting for most of the season due to injury. Brown allowed four runs on five hits and four walks over four innings.

“He pitched really well,” said East St. John coach Shan Williams. “He came out and kept us in the game early.”

Sam Steib got Destrehan (22-10, 13-1) going in the first inning via an RBI single, then DHS made it 2-0 in the third inning when Brock Bennedetto singled to score Ryan Brewer, who led off the frame with a single of his own. 

But ESJ left fielder Roshaud Taylor  threw out Bennedetto at second as the latter was trying to leg out a double. Destrehan added a run in the fourth when Nathan Pilutti scored on a balk after leading off with a single. 

ESJ (7-22, 3-11) kept Destrehan within striking distance early, but Granier locked in. Amani Martin’s double left runners at second and third with two outs in the second inning, giving ESJ its best chance to even things, but he got Phil Adams to ground out to end the threat. 

Granier pitched a perfect third, then walked two but struck out two more in a scoreless fourth.

“He’s been the district MVP by far. He’s been absolutely dominant,” said Luquet. “We know from coming here over the years that they swing the bat aggressively, so we like to save some pitching for this game.”

Said East St. John coach Shan Williams, “We didn’t hit the ball today. They threw their guy (Granier) and that certainly made it difficult. We didn’t put enough pressure on them and defensively we made a few errors that led to a big inning.”

After a walk to Granier and an ESJ defensive error, I’leke Brown relieved his brother on the mound, but DHS pushed three runs across. Bennedetto’s sacrifice fly made it 4-0, then an RBI double by Pilutti and an RBI single by Hunter Abadie made it 6-0.

DHS added two runs in the sixth and one in the seventh. 

Brewer finished 3 for 4 with an RBI. Bennedetto was 2 for 4 with three RBIs.

Austin McDonald, Tyler Winters and Logan Babin each tossed a scoreless inning for Destrehan. The trio combined to allow two hits. 

The Wildcats structured their lineup to honor their seven seniors Wednesday: Taylor, Kyle Patterson, I’Kee Brown, Derrick Johnson, Roshawn Taylor, Ryan Foster and Donald August manned the first seven spots in the batting order. 

“These seniors are a group of really good kids and they showed a lot of leadership,” said Williams. “We played much better over the second half of our schedule, and they had a lot to do with that improvement.”