North DeSoto shuts out Notre Dame

RAYNE – North DeSoto’s Jared West was as good as advertised.

And not a change of venues midway through the game, nor a two-hour rain delay phased him.

The University of Houston signee struck out four batters in three innings at Miller Stadium in Crowley before a torrential downpour delayed the Griffins’ Class 3A regional playoff contest against Notre Dame.

And just over two hours later, when the game resumed at Legion Field in Rayne, he continued where he had left off.

The 6-foot-5 hard-throwing southpaw struck out 10 more batters over the final four innings en route to a 4-0 no-hit victory over the Pios.

Overall, he struck out 14.

“Anytime you have a lefty throwing that hard, it’s going to be tough,” said Notre Dame coach Timmy Robichaux, whose team finished the year with a record of 18-14. “He did a really great job out there.

“We were hoping with the changeover that maybe he’d lose his rhythm a little bit, but I think he came on stronger.”

West got all the run support he needed in the first inning.

Leadoff batter Brenden Meade got things going with a grounder to shortstop that was misplayed. Matt Martin followed with a single and advanced to second base on the throw in from the outfield when the Pios tried to get Meade, who scooted to third on the hit.

Hunter Thomas then delivered an RBI single to center and Martin eventually scored on a wild pitch to put the Griffins up 2-0.

“We knew we couldn’t give him (West) any runs and right off the bat we gave him two,” said Robichaux. “We don’t field a ground ball early, then we don’t hit a cutoff and allow the backside runner to move up. So, we had some mistakes that inning that gave them some runs and with the way he pitched tonight, that was really all they needed.”

Although West was dominant on the mound, he did allow the Pios some opportunities. The lanky hurler walked four in the first three innings and Notre Dame had another base runner reach on an error.

However, the Pios werre unable to capitalize.

Nick Gossen was hit by a pitch in the first inning, but after stealing second base, he was left stranded after a flyout and a strike out.

In the second inning, Brennan Corzine and Clint Faul were both issued walks, only to see West get out of the potential jam with another strikeout.

Then in the third, Connor Goss drew a walk and Matt Venable reached base on an error with two outs. But West again ended the inning with a strikeout.

“Against this guy, you’re not going to be able to just run,” said Robichaux. “You have to execute to get people over. We stranded five runners early in the game and we had second and third two times and a runner at second once and we had strikeouts to end the inning.

“Against somebody like this, a quality arm, you’ve got to have a timely hit to score and we just didn’t get that.”

Notre Dame’s scoring opportunities were limited once the game moved to Rayne.

West walked one in the fourth inning, but he struck out three. In the fifth, he allowed one base runner on an error, but he struck out two and got a flyout to deep right field.

The Griffins got a pair of insurance runs in the top of the sixth off Notre Dame starter Nick Gossen.

Martin started the inning with a triple and scored one batter later when Hunter Thomas doubled to center field. Thomas eventually scored on an error.

West took over from there and struck out the side in the bottom of the inning. He struck out the first two batters he faced in the seventh and got Gavin Bourgeois to fly out to center field to end the game.

Gossen suffered the loss after giving up four runs, one earned, on five hits. He struck out 10.

“I think both pitchers did well,” said Robichaux. “I think Nick pitched well enough for us to have a chance to win.

“Both pitchers pitch counts were low (in the first four innings in Crowley ) which enabled them to come back. Both of them did a good job. We just had to fight to be able to put the ball in play. We had too many strikeouts.”

And not enough timely hits.

“We had a chance early to get in the game with them (timely hits) and we didn’t do it,” said Robichaux. “After that, we just never could really get anybody on.”

Martin had two hits, including a triple for the Griffins while Thomas was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI.

West had the Griffins’ only other hit, an infield single in the fifth inning.

“I’m really proud of our guys,” said Robichaux, whose team returned just two starters from last year’s quarterfinal team. “We had some good wins against some big teams along the way, won district and got to the second round. I’m very proud of them.

“We’re just not very offensive and I knew at some point when we met somebody’s No. 1, we were going to have a tough time. But again, overall I’m just proud of them for all their hard work and what they were able to accomplish this year.”

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