Crowley fends off Church Point rally
CHURCH POINT – The Crowley Gents and the Church Points Bears have locked up in some classic battles on the diamond over the past few years.
In the 2010 finale, for instance, the Gents logged three hits in the seventh inning to break up Tanner Carrion’s no-hit bid and slip away with a 1-0 victory.
Two weeks ago, the Gents rallied from a two-run deficit in the seventh inning and claimed a 10-9 eight-inning victory over the Bears.
In the latest chapter of the rivalry, two intra parish rivals battled to the end again, providing another dramatic finish.
This time, the Gents, who led 7-0 after 4 1/2 innings, had to withstand a late rally by the Bears before claiming an 8-7 victory.
“This was a typical Crowley High vs. Church Point baseball game, I’ll tell you that,” said Church Point coach Jarred LeBlanc following the loss that dropped his squad to 8-17 overall and 2-7 in league play. “The first game this year, we were up and they came back and this game, they were up and we fought back. That’s pretty good high school baseball right there.”
For Crowley (12-10, 5-4), the victory was somewhat bittersweet.
“This was a big win because we’ve got to have it at this point in the season,” said CHS coach Christian Doughty. “But I am a little disappointed in the fact that we blew that kind of a lead.”
The Gents jumped out to an early lead, scoring five runs in the first two innings and two more in the fourth to take a commanding 7-0 lead.
But the Bears battled back in the bottom of the fourth, scoring four runs on two hits, three walks and two hit batsmen.
“It was almost like we played two different ballgames today,” said Doughty. “The first three innings were nice. We were real crisp and then the bottom fell out. That’s what we’ve got to prevent. If we are going to be able to get into the playoffs and make a showing, we’ve got to clean that up.
“We’ve talked all season about putting people away when we have the chance and we come out here today and we let them right back in the ballgame.”
Crowley added a run in the fifth when Philip Artal scored on a wild pitch, but Church Point answered with two runs in the bottom of the frame to cut the lead to 8-6.
The Bears got within one in the sixth when Brett Richard doubled and scored on a wild pitch, but that was as close as they’d get.
Crowley’s Steven Bertrand, who entered the game in relief of starting pitcher Brody Deshotel in the fifth, thwarted any hopes of a come-from-behind victory in the seventh by setting the Bears down in order. He struck out the first two batters he faced and then coaxed leadoff man Chance Roy into a groundout to second base to end the game.
“I was pleased with Steven in the last inning, stepping up like he did,” said Doughty. “He was real intense and his curveball was really working. He has come on strong all of the sudden and he’s going to have to pitch for us down the stretch.”
Church Point had its chances, especially late in the game.
In the fourth inning, the Bears scored four runs, but they left the bases loaded when Latiolas grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
Then, in the fifth, the Bears stranded one runner before leaving runners at second and third in the sixth.
“We were right there,” said LeBlanc. “Like I said, we had opportunities. We just couldn’t get the crucial hit at the right time.”
Despite the loss, LeBlanc was pleased with his team’s effort.
“We’ve had some times this year where we’ve been down and we haven’t fought back,” said LeBlanc. “That is good to look forward to in the future if we continue to fight back.”
Latiolais suffered the loss, surrendering all of the Gents’ eight runs on 12 hits and three walks. He struck out seven in the complete game performance.
“It was senior night and we had our senior on the mound,” said LeBlanc of Latiolais. “He pitched as good as he could pitch, but we have to protect him at the plate and we haven’t been able to do that all year.”
Deshotel earned the victory, giving up six runs on four hits, five walks and two hit batsmen. He struck out three in 4 2/3 innings.
Bertrand was credited with the save, giving up one run on two hits and one hit batsmen. He struck out two in 2 1/3 innings.
Of Church Point’s five hits, four were for extra bases. Brock Latiolas, Jake Morvant and Brett Richard each doubled and drove in one run while Brett Thibodeaux also doubled. Brody Latiolais singled and Dylan Nation logged a RBI on a bases loaded walk.
Chad Hoffpauir paced the Gents with two hits, including a triple and three RBI. Deshotel doubled and drove in two; Bertrand was 2-for-4 with a double and Taylor Doughty had two hits.
Nathan Richard had a double while Mickey Morgan, Andre Mills and Jude Cradeur each had a single.
“We got production throughout the lineup tonight so I was very pleased with that,” said Doughty.
The Gents will be in action again Tuesday when they play host to Westlake at 6 p.m.