Big inning propels Millers past Indians

OPELOUSAS – Heading into Tuesday’s key District 7 American Legion showdown against the Opelousas Seminoles, Mike Reed had pitched just two innings in the Crowley Millers’ three games.

In addition, he wasn’t even slated to pitch against the Seminoles either.

That was until a late scratch of scheduled starter Pate Broussard some 10 minutes before first pitch.

With Broussard sore from seven-on-seven football drills earlier in the day, Millers’ coach Chad Cradeur was forced to make a decision to give Reed his first start of the summer on the mound.

It proved to be a stroke of genius.

Reed scattered four hits and allowed just two runs, one earned, in helping lead the Millers to a 12-2 victory over a homestanding Seminoles team that had won three straight games and given up only three hits and two runs during that span.

“Mike had thrown very few innings for us, but he has been great,” said Cradeur, whose team improved to 4-0 with the victory. “We usually use him to spot up and set up our closer, but tonight we needed him and he stepped up. He battled out there and that was the best pitching performance that I’ve seen in a very long time by anybody.”

Reed gave up four hits in the first three innings, but he settled in after that and set the Seminoles down in order over the final three frames.

“Mike really kept their hitters off balance tonight,” said Cradeur. “All we’ve heard all week was that they (Seminoles) have college players and they were going to be good.

“We knew that they were free swingers so we kept them off balance by throwing a curveball probably 80 percent of the time. We threw curveball, changeup and we kept them out in front.”

Reed helped the Millers stake an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when he singled and scored on a single to left field by Alex Ashby.

The Seminoles answered in the bottom of the frame thanks in part to a pair of errors and an RBI double by starting pitcher Daniel Richard.

Richard gave the Seminoles a 2-1 advantage two innings later when he singled to left field to drive in Wesley Bellard, who tripled to start the frame.

The lead, however, was short-lived.

The Millers regained the lead and basically put the game away in the fifth inning with a 10-run outburst.

The Millers sent 15 batters to the plate in the frame and took advantage of four hits, seven walks and three Seminole errors.

“Once we got runners on base, we were able to play our game,” said Cradeur. “We were able to lay down some bunts, steal some bases. That defines us: laying down bunts, stealing bases and just being aggressive.”

Jon Riley Mouton started the rally when he reached base on an error to start the frame. A pair of walks to Pate Broussard and Taylor Doughty followed before Mouton scored on an errant pickoff attempt to tie the game.

Reed followed with a bunt single to load the bases again for Mackay Mouton, who delivered a two-run double to left field. Reed and Mouton both scored on wild pitches before Richard was lifted for hurler Hayden Marze.

Marze walked the first batter he faced and then hit the next before finally logging a strikeout for the first out of the inning. Another error allowed one more run to cross the plate while Jon Riley Mouton and Mackay Mouton each added an RBI later in the frame.

The Seminoles had no answer in the bottom of the frame as Reed allowed just one base runner — Wesley Bellard — on an error. Bellard was erased shortly after when he was gunned down on a steal attempt at third base by Millers’ catcher Tony Doucet.

The Millers added one more run in the sixth when Micky Morgan was hit by a pitch and scored on a single by Doughty.

Once again, Reed set the Seminoles down in order in the bottom of the frame to end the game courtesy of the mercy-rule.

“After the first few innings, Mike really got better as the game went on,” said Cradeur. “He never slowed down. He kept pitching and the tempo was great.”

Overall, the Millers banged out 10 hits off three Seminole pitchers.

Reed led the charge with a 3-for-4 performance that included two bunt singles in the fifth inning. Mackay Mouton and Jon Riley Mouton each had two hits while Doughty, Broussard and Alex Ashby each had one hit each.

Richard paced the Seminoles with two hits while Bellard and Kyle DeVille each had one.

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