Brusly upends Pios

CROWLEY – Notre Dame’s quest for a state baseball championship “ground” to a halt Monday.

Brusly, taking a page from the Notre Dame defensive play book, turned three inning-ending double plays in their quarterfinal showdown with the Pios to steal the momentum and, eventually, pull off a 4-1 victory before a capacity crowd at Miller Stadium.

The disappointing loss left the Pios one victory short of advancing to the Class AAA state tournament and it also end their season with a final record of  20-13.

Brusly, which advances to the state tournament, improved to 26-7.

“When we got people on, we just put the ball on the ground too much,” said Notre Dame coach Timmy Robichaux following the loss. “We just didn’t drive the ball. And credit to them, they made the plays. A double play is a demoralizer and they turned three big ones.

“It’s tough to win when you are letting people roll double plays on you.”

The Pios, who turned two double plays in their regional-round victory over Berwick last week, contributed to Brusly’s success with a pair of errors that led to three unearned runs. They also had some base running mistakes that proved costly.

Brusly scored a pair of runs in the second inning following a two-out error at shortstop. Then, in the fifth inning, another error led to an unearned run on a double by Luke LeBlanc.

“You have to make the plays,” said Robichaux. “We had a chance to get out of an inning early and a two-out error cost us. We don’t slide one time and then we keep running on a ball that turned into a double play instead of stopping.

“We just didn’t play well enough to win, bottom line.”

The Pios’ struggles weren’t limited to just defense and base running, however.

Brusly pitcher Taylor Prejean limited the Pios to just four hits on the day and he never allowed more than one hit in an inning.

“I think we went back to taking (pitches) in hitter’s counts today,” said Robichaux. “We had some hitters in 1-0 counts and they took the fastball. We knew this guy (Prejean) wanted to throw the breaking ball so you can’t give him the opportunity. If you get in a hitter’s count you have to be ready to drive the ball.”

The Pios cut the lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the third inning when Hogan Guidry doubled to left field and scored on a groundout by Gavin Bourgeois.

But Brusly answered in the top of the fifth courtesy of an error and LeBlanc’s two-run single to right.

The Pios mounted a rally in the bottom of the fifth and loaded the bases on an infield single by Jacques Thibodeaux and back-to-back, two-out walks.

But the rally was cut short when Dillan Gilbert grounded out to third base to end the inning.

“We kind of had the table set right there and we just didn’t get the big hit,” said Robichaux. “If we could have at least pushed across a run or two right there, we would have had a chance. But that’s just how the game went. We just didn’t play well enough to win.”

Alex Rozas led off the sixth with a single to left, but a flyout to first base by Sam Veillon was followed by Brusly’s third and final double play of the evening.

Prejean then worked a flawless seventh inning in which he sat the Pios down in order on strikes.

Prejean gave up one run on four hits and four walks in earning the victory. He struck out three in seven innings.

Bourgeois was tagged with the loss after giving up four runs, one earned, on five hits and three walks. He stuck out six in five innings.

Alex Holston pitched the final two frames and allowed no hits and one walk while striking out three.

Guidry led the Pios with a double. Rozas, Veillon and Thibodeaux each had singles.

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