Eunice's Person hurls Bobcats past Gents
EUNICE – For three innings Thursday, the Crowley Gents gave Class AAA’s No. 10-ranked Eunice Bobcats all they wanted in the District 4-AAA opener for both teams.
But a two-out error in the fourth inning led to three runs and the flood gates opened, allowing Eunice to roll to a 9-1 victory over the visiting Gents.
Crowley fell to 4-7 overall and 0-1 in league play. Eunice improved to 8-6 and 1-0.
“Early on, for us to go into the fourth inning tied 1-1 with those guys, I was very pleased,” said CHS coach Christian Doughty. “We played with a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of energy. We had a couple of miscues and the bottom fell out.”
Errors weren’t the only problem for Doughty’s squad. The Gents managed just one hit off Eunice ace and LSU-Eunice commitment Zac Person.
“The main thing was, truthfully, we were overmatched at the plate tonight,” said Doughty of Person, a senior southpaw. “The guy has really good stuff. We battled. He went deep in several counts and we just weren’t able to capitalize on anything.
“You can’t win ballgames with one hit.”
Eunice doubled Crowley’s offensive output in the first inning with two hits. Brody Olivier doubled to start the game and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Trent Vidrine to give the Bobcats a 1-0 advantage.
Crowley responded in the third inning when Philip Artall drew a two-out walk and advanced to second on a single by Taylor Doughty. Artall later stole third base and scored on a wild pitch.
Eunice took the lead for good in the fourth frame when John Ross Johnson was hit by a pitch and then scored on a two-out throwing error. Josh Patin also had a two-run double later in the frame to extend the Bobcats’ lead to 4-1.
The Bobcats added five more runs in the fifth inning, highlighted by a three-run home run by Person.
In the final three innings, Person sat the side down in order, striking out six of the final nine batters that he faced.
In all, the senior hurler struck out 14 Gents while walking four.
“Zac got strong as the game went on,” said Eunice High coach Scott Phillips. “When he starts a game, we always tell him to go out there about 70-75 percent and as the game goes on, to crank it up to 85-90 percent and that’s what he did.
“He’s a guy that never really gets much offensive support and, tonight, luckily, we kind of got it going.
“With Zac on the mound, we always have a chance to win.”
Crowley’s Blake Thibodeaux was tagged with the loss after giving up eight runs, five earned, on eight hits and six walks. He struck out two.
Taylor Doughty gave up one run in relief and struck out one in 2/3 innings while Chad Hoffpauir struck out two of the three batters he faced in the final inning.
“The thing we are trying to stress to our pitchers is that you can’t pitch from behind and be successful,” said Doughty. “Most of the times we were hurt tonight was when we were in 2-0 situations.
“But this was the first game in a 10-game district slate. We’ve got a long season to go and I’m still very hopeful that we will be competitive in the district.”