Lorio pitches complete game; Gilbert knocks in 3 on 3 hits for SCC championship
SULPHUR — The eighth championship appearance was the charm for the St. Charles Catholic baseball team Tuesday afternoon as the No. 6 Comets upset No. 1 University High for the first LHSAA state baseball title in school history.
It was a historic moment on the Sulphur field when the game ended 7-4 among loud cheers from a joyous Comets crowd.
The championship appearance game followed Sunday’s 5-2 semifinal victory against No. 2 seed St. Thomas More.
Coach Wayne Stein knows firsthand just how elusive the state championship trophy can be. Stein has endured seven state championship losses in his time with the Comets — once as a student, five times as an assistant coach and once as a head coach.
“The team deserves this,” Stein said. “Our community deserves this; our school deserves this. This one’s for all the ones before us who couldn’t get it done.”
The long-awaited win was a crowning achievement for 11 Comets seniors who have already accomplished several playoff appearances.
Senior Nick Lorio went the distance on the mound during the championship game, holding the University High Cubs to 10 hits and four runs. Lorio struck out five while throwing 115 pitches over seven innings.
Stein said Lorio “fought and competed his butt off,” noting Lorio didn’t have his best stuff and couldn’t find one of his best pitches — his cutter.
“But, he kept just gutting it out,” Stein said. “We gave him some run support and a chance to kind of throw the ball over the plate, and we were able to make some plays behind him.”
The Comets offense broke through in the top of the third inning with runs from T.J. Lasseigne, Peyton Broussard, Kaile Levantino, Robby Gilbert, Nicholas Lemoine and Kendell Harris.
Caleb St. Martin knocked in the last score of the third inning when he doubled with a line drive to left field.
Broussard added another run in the fourth inning to bring the score to 7-0.
Stein said the offensive outburst was huge.
“Early on, we felt like the strike zone was a little wide,” Stein said. “I told the kids, make the adjustment, and we did. I think it settled us in. Maybe we relaxed a little bit having a seven-run lead, but it gave us an opportunity to challenge their hitters and make them earn every run.”
Gilbert finished the game with three hits and three RBIs.
“He’s done that for us all year,” Stein said. “He’s competed at a high level, hitting over .400. He’s the guy who when you want him to play, he performs.”
University High pitcher Aleksander Popov answered with a three-up, three-down fifth inning, followed by a run from Cubs player Dylan Carmouche.
The Cubs scored again in the sixth and brought in another two runs in the bottom of the seventh.
However, that is where the runs ended as Lorio fielded his position well, throwing to first baseman Evan Roussel for the last out of the seventh inning, ending the game with a Comets victory.