Gents rally past Cecilia in extra innings
By Chris Quebedeaux
CROWLEY – Nick Hoffpauir gave Crowley a chance and Donovan Morris put the Gents over the top Monday in a non-district showdown against Cecilia at Miller Stadium.
Hoffpauir gave up just one earned run in seven innings and Morris came through with a clutch bases-loaded single in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Gents to a dramatic 4-3 victory over the visiting Bulldogs.
“This is a big win for us and I’m just so proud of our kids,” said Crowley coach Christian Doughty, whose team improved to 8-13-1 with the victory. “They really showed some character and heart right there at the end. It’s not a district game but it is a win over a AAA opponent, which we badly needed.”
The Gents seemingly had the game wrapped up in the bottom of the seventh, leading 3-1 with two outs and runners at second and third.
However, Tyler Champagne’s chopper to third base resulted in an errant throw to first base, allowing two runs to cross the plate and tie the game.
“The ball wasn’t really hit that hard but it was hit in a spot that made it a tough play to make,” said Doughty. “We were playing deep at third with two outs and it was a tough play when you have to come up like that and make a throw on the run.”
Crowley went down in order in the seventh before loading the bases with one out in the eighth. Hoffpauir was hit by a pitch to start the inning before moving to second on a sacrifice bunt by Justin Desselle. Back-to-back walks to Brian Broussard and Corde McCall then loaded the bases for Morris, who was 1-for-3 at the time with an infield single.
Morris, who played shortstop during the contest in place of an injured Jake Trahan, fell behind in the count, swinging at a first-pitch curve ball in the dirt. He then regrouped on the next pitch, driving a fastball right back up the middle to drive in Hoffpauir for the game winner.
“I was really proud of Donovan tonight, first off because he had to play out of position. And overall, I thought he did a good job,” said Doughty. “And then to come up big at the end like that, after struggling in a couple of at bats, to come in and hit a solid line drive up the middle was pretty exciting.”
Hoffpauir also earned praise from Doughty for his performance on the mound. The hard- throwing right hander surrendered just two hits in the first six innings and worked out of two bases-loaded jams in the fourth and sixth innings to thwart potential scoring threats.
The lone earned run he gave up crossed the plate in the fifth inning when Joe Menard doubled and scored on a groundout to shortstop. Both runs in the seventh were unearned.
“Nick did a tremendous job tonight,” said Doughty. “He threw his heart out. He was able to work out of a couple jams early on and keep us in the game.
“The good thing about Nick is that he is a guy who can throw his breaking ball in any situation. At one point he threw a 3-1 curve ball for a strike and then he threw a 2-0 curve for a strike so we’re confident that he can get it done when he’s on. Tonight, he was able to keep Cecilia off balance and I think that was the key.”
Taylor Bertrand picked up the victory after striking out the side in the top of the eighth on just 13 pitches.
“I was very excited about Taylor’s performance,” said Doughty. “He had been struggling some on the mound in his last few outings and for him to come in and strike out the side, that was big.”
The Gents took a 1-0 advantage in the first inning when Bertrand reached base on a fielder’s choice and later scored on Hoffpauir’s single to left two batters later.
The Gents added to the lead in the third inning when Bertrand walked and eventually crossed the plate on a throwing error. Chad Hoffpauir doubled in the fifth and also scored on a throwing error.
The Gents recorded eight hits in the contest. Morris led the way with two hits and one RBI while Nick Hoffpauir had one hit and a RBI.
Chad Hoffpauir doubled and Desselle, McCall, Tyler Dupuis and Taylor Doughty each had a single.
Leadoff man Devin Broussard logged two of Cecilia’s four hits while Menard doubled and Kale Savoie had a single.
The Gents will be in action again when they travel to Church Point Tuesday for a key district tilt against the Bears at 6 o’clock.