ESJ bats lead way past South Lafourche

Published 12:03 am Saturday, April 11, 2015

RESERVE — East St. John bounced back from a close loss to Destrehan this week to go on the road and beat South Lafourche in District 8-5A action Thursday, 8-2.

ESJ Leadoff hitter Chase Henderson went 3 for 4 with three RBIs. C.J. Turner went 2 for 4. Phil Adams drove in two runs, and Ahmani Martin went 2 for 4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Janoi Rose scored two runs and went 1 for 2.

Justin Schnyder went four innings to earn the win. He allowed two runs, one earned, on five hits and struck out one. I’leke Brown went the final three innings, allowing no hits and walking one. He struck out one.

Against Destrehan, Errol Cemelien took the loss, going three innings and allowing six runs, four earned. Demetrice Rudolph pitched three scoreless innings in relief.

ESJ stole six bases in the game, led by Adams’ two swipes.

Schnyder went 2 for 4 with two RBIs. I’leke Brown went 2 for 4 with a run scored. Adams scored two runs.

The Wildcats are in the thick of the district race with a 6-2 mark in 8-5A play. ESJ will need a strong end of the season push, however, to break into a tough postseason field. Even at 13-6 overall, ESJ sits at No. 34 in the 5A power rankings. It’s lone two losses are to 8-5A leader Hahnville and second place Destrehan; it will likely need to best one of those teams to earn its way into the 32-team field.

ESJ travels to Hahnville Thursday  and hosts Destrehan April 22, the final day of the regular season.

“If you told me we’d be 6-2 in district play back in February,” Riverside coach Matt White said, “I’d have signed up right then and there. But this team we’ve got, there’s something special about them. They go out on the field and play with a lot of passion and joy and man, it’s really a great thing to be a part of.”

White, in his first season as ESJ head coach after a successful run at Riverside, said the support from the community has been “amazing” as East St. John continues in the midst of its most successful season in years.

“After games I’m getting texts from people telling me, ‘Whatever you need, just ask,’” White said.

“These parents have been great. The administration, my assistant coaches … I couldn’t ask for more.”

He said he knows beating traditional powers like Hahnville and Destrehan won’t be easy, but also believes it can be done. In his team’s 7-2 loss to Hahnville March 31, ESJ was within striking distance until a five- run seventh.

Against Destrehan, a late charge from a 7-0 deficit saw the Wildcats send the tying run to the plate with two outs before DHS closed the door.

“We’re having a lot of fun and doing the little things right,” White said.