Pios rally past Westlake in extra innings
WESTLAKE – With runs at a minimum, Notre Dame pitcher Royce Zaunbrecher and the Pios’ defense had to shoulder the load in their District 4-3A opener against the Westlake Rams.
Luckily, they did just that long enough to allow the Pios’ hitters to take control.
The Pios (7-11, 1-0) broke a 2-2 deadlock in the top of the eighth inning by scoring three runs on three hits to slip away with a 5-3 victory.
“The big key for us was Royce going as deep as he did (pitching) and the defense playing well,” said Notre Dame coach Timmy Robichaux of Zaunbrecher, who held Westlake to two runs through six innings of work. “I think that was ultimately what kept us there to where the hitters could finally step up and score some runs.”
The Pios had opportunities to score runs on countless occasions, but the big hit eluded them each time. They stranded eight runners on the night, seven in scoring position.
“That’s kind of been our Achilles heel a little bit, getting that timely hit,” said Robichaux. “We had chances; we had another time where we had a steal on and we didn’t pick it up. Then, we get a hit over the left fielder’s head and we had to stop at third base. It’s just the little things that add up to big things. We just have to do a better job of getting them in when we have runners in scoring position.”
The Pios finally broke loose in the top of the eighth inning when Alex Rozas and Brennan Corzine each recorded one-out singles and Jacob Mooney got on courtesy of an error to load the bases.
Joe Faulk followed with a sacrifice fly and Gavin Bourgeois came through with a two-run single to stretch the lead to 5-2.
That was more than enough support for reliever Dillan Gilbert, who set the Rams down in order in the bottom of the frame to log the victory.
Gilbert pitched the final two innings and allowed no hits while striking out two.
“Dillan has been doing a great job of coming in and closing out games,” said Robichaux. “They (Westlake) had a tough time with his velocity so we kept trying to pitch in with the fastball as much as we could.
“The times we got hurt, we missed on missed breaking balls. Other than that, both of our pitchers did really well tonight.”
Offensively, Bourgeois led the Pios with three hits and three RBI. Rozas also had three hits and one RBI.
Brennan Corzine added two hits, including a double; Hogan Guidry had a double and Gilbert had a single.