Crowley tops Rayne in key 5-AAA tilt
By Chris Quebedeaux
CROWLEY – They may have started the season slowly, but the Crowley Gents are starting to get hot at just the right time.
The Gents (7-13-1) picked up their third straight victory Monday, topping Rayne 10-2 in a pivotal 5-AAA contest at Miller Stadium.
The victory left the Gents tied for second place in District 5-AAA with Church Point with a league record of 3-2. Notre Dame leads the pack at 5-0 while Rayne fell to 2-3 with the loss.
“This is really a good feeling after we have struggled for so long,” said CHS coach Christian Doughty following the contest. “Our guys have struggled, but they have worked so hard and it’s very rewarding to see it finally paying off. To start the second round of district with a win is always big.”
One of the major factors in the victory was the pitching performance turned in by junior hurler Justin Desselle. The hard-throwing southpaw kept the Wolves guessing for most of the contest after giving up two runs in the first inning.
“Justin is a battler,” said Doughty. “We got into a few tough situations, but he was able to pitch himself out of it and get some timely strikeouts.”
Desselle allowed just two runs, both unearned, and scattered four hits and five walks in seven innings. He also struck out 10.
He was also aided by his defense. Although the Gents made three errors on the night, they turned key double plays in the first and third innings to thwart potential threats by the Wolves.
After two runs crossed the plate in the top of the first, Desselle coaxed Trace Duplantis to ground back to the mound which turned into a double play to end the inning.
Then, in the third inning, with one out and a runner on first, he got Zack Heinen to ground into a 4-6-3 double play.
“Overall, I’m very pleased with our performance,” said Doughty. “We made three errors and we’d like to cut some of that out. But, to come up with some double plays in a time when you really need them, it was really nice.”
With Desselle clicking on all cylinders and the defense playing well, Crowley’s offense took over.
The Gents pounded out 13 hits in the victory, seven off starter Dakota Broussard and six off reliever Eric Miller.
“They way we’re hitting the baseball, I think we had 13 or 14 hits and that’s always nice,” said Doughty. “We were able to capitalize when we got runners in scoring position with some timely hits.”
Crowley fell behind 2-0 in the first inning when Zack Heinen walked and Aaron Chiasson reached base on a fielder’s choice due to an error on a double play attempt. Tyler Venable followed with a two-run single to left.
Crowley answered with a run in the bottom of the frame when Jake Trahan walked and eventually scored on a wild pitch. Chad Hoffpauir had a chance to tie the game when he attempted to score on a wild pitch, but an alert play by Rayne nailed him at the plate for the final out of the inning.
Crowley took the lead for good in the second inning on a two-run single to left by Jake Trahan that plated Taylor Bertrand and Taylor Doughty.
The Gents added to their cushion in the bottom of the fourth following a leadoff double by Doughty and a single by Tyler Dupuis. Hoffpauir recorded a sacrifice fly to plate Doughty and Desselle singled to right to score Dupuis. Nick Hoffpauir, who reached on a walk, was thrown out at the plate attempting to score on the hit from second base.
Rayne threatened in the top of the fifth when Chris Bourque reached base on an error and Broussard was hit by a pitch with one out. However, Bourque was thrown out attempting to steal third for the second out and Desselle got out of a bases-loaded jam by striking out Chiasson.
The Gents added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth and ended the inning on another out at the plate when Dupuis attempted to score from second on a Chad Hoffpauir single to right field.
“We scored 10 runs and we were thrown out at the plate twice,” said Doughty. “But the kids knew coming in that we were going to run. We were going to try and make them throw us out and on two occasions they did it.”
Crowley added the finishing touches in the sixth inning when the Gents rallied for four hits and three runs, all with two outs.
Brian Broussard and Corde McCall got things going with back-to-back two-out singles before Bertrand singled to left to plate Broussard. Donovan Morris then singled to right to plate McCall and Bertrand scored on an error.
Bourque and Broussard each singled with one out in the bottom of the seventh before Desselle struck out Miller and Heinen to end the game.
Rayne recorded just four hits in the loss. Venable singled and drove in two runs while Bourque, Broussard and Chiasson each had a single.
Taylor Bertrand led the Gents, going 3-for-4 with two RBI. Dupuis and Broussard each had two hits.
Trahan and Chad Hoffpauir each had one hit and two RBI; Desselle and Morris each singled and drove in a run; Doughty doubled and McCall had a single.
The Gents step out of district play today when they play host to Cecilia at Miller Stadium.
“It’s always a challenge to play Cecilia,” said Doughty. “They are a well- coached ballclub and they are always scrappy. It will be an interesting game, but it’s a big game because it’s a triple A opponent and we need that win.”
First pitch is slated for 6 o’clock.