Notre Dame's Venable tosses two-hit shutout at St. Louis; Opelousas Catholic rallies past Gents

CROWLEY – Notre Dame coach Timmy Robichaux was hoping pitcher Matt Venable could log at least five innings Monday in the Pios’ regular-season finale against Class 4A powerhouse St. Louis of Lake Charles.

Venable not only went five innings, he went above and beyond that.

The junior hurler handcuffed the No. 1-ranked Saints throughout the contest, limiting them to just two hits in seven innings in an 8-0 Pios victory.

“Just like the Livonia game, Matt did an awesome job from the start to the end,” said Robichaux, whose squad finished the regular season at 17-13. “He kept everything down and he didn’t walk many people.

“And he did it tonight with not many breaking balls; he spotted up the fastball mostly. To get by these guys with just a fastball, he did a great job.”

Notre Dame’s offense gave Venable breathing room early on, scoring once in each of the first three innings to take the pressure off of their starting pitcher.

“It was big for us to score like we did early in the game,” said Robichaux. “It’s just always much easier, especially as a pitcher and on our end. It’s always nice to score and put a little more pressure on them.

“So, it’s definitely a big advantage to score early.”

Connor Goss got the Pios going in the first inning with a two-out triple to the right center field gap. Venable helped his own cause two pitches later when he singled up the middle to plate Goss and give Notre Dame a 1-0 advantage.

Brennan Corzine then led off the second inning with a double down the right field line. Corzine advanced to third on a bunt single by Hogan Guidry and scored on a sacrifice fly by Clint Faul.

Goss struck again in the third inning when he drove a 2-0 delivery from St. Louis pitcher Garret Harless over the left field wall for a solo home run that pushed the lead to 3-0.

The Pios put the game away in the sixth inning by plating five runs on three hits, including a two-run triple by Gavin Bourgeois, a two-run double by Guidry, and two walks.

“We had some very productive at-bats tonight and hopefully we’re going to continue to compete better one through nine,” said Robichaux. “We just have to continue to be productive with our outs and keep our strikeouts down.”

Venable, whose no-hit bid was thwarted in the top of the sixth by Matt Gallier’s two-out double, gave up a one-out single to Michael Eccles in the seventh but got Chris Stout to ground out before striking out Jacob Eccles to end the game.

On the night, Venable walked two and struck out seven.

Harless was tagged with the loss after giving up seven runs on seven hits and two walks in five innings.

Goss, Corzine and Guidry each had two hits for the Pios while Bourgeois and Venable each had one.

Opelousas Cath, 3, Crowley 2

OPELOUSAS – A leadoff walk in the bottom of the seventh inning set the stage for Logan Constantine, who hit a two-out walk-off RBI single to lift the Opelousas Catholic Vikings past the Crowley Gents Monday evening in the regular-season finale for both teams.

Crowley fell to 11-16 on the season with the loss. The Gents now await the release of the LHSAA’s playoff brackets on Wednesday to find out their postseason fate.

The Gents trailed 2-1 entering the top of the seventh before they tied the game on Brody Deshotel’s two-out RBI single to left field.

Kaleb Cormier drove in the Gents’ only other run on an RBI single in the first inning.

Cormier was tagged with the loss in relief. He gave up one run on one hit and a walk.

The Gents outhit the Vikings 7-5 on the day.

Deshotel led the Gents with two hits and one RBI while Cormier had one hit and an RBI. Taylor Doughty, Steven Bertrand, Luke Ancelet and Nathan Richard also had one hit each.

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