MARRERO - The Archbishop Shaw Eagles had eliminated the Eunice High Bobcats from the high school playoffs four times in recent years, twice in football and twice in baseball.
On Friday evening, here at the Eagles’ home field, the baseball Bobcats earned a measure of revenge by knocking the Eagles out of the Class 4A state playoffs in the opening round with an 8-6 victory.
The Bobcats are scheduled to host the 4A regional round contest against Teurlings Catholic at 6 p.m. on Wednesday evening at Bobcat Park.
The Eagles, a state finalist last season, took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning after the Cats stranded two runners in the top of the inning.
That run came on a solo home run by Jonathan Coco off Bobcat pitcher Austin Young. The Eagles went up 2-0 in the second inning on another solo home run, this time by Eagles’ pitcher Jared Landry.
But Young, the senior left-hander, left two runners stranded in the second by striking out leadoff hitter Steve Daigle for the third out.
It was typical of Young’s performance on the day, making clutch pitches to escape jams. Young would finish with a complete game, scattering eight hits, walking five (one intentional), and striking out three.
“Austin didn’t have his best stuff today,” commented Bobcat head coach Scott Phillips after the game. “But he showed a lot of character, battling all day against a good hitting team.”
The Cats struck for a run against Landry in the top of the third. Kendall Sam singled to open the inning, and Jacob Fontenot laid down a drag bunt to advance Sam to second. Fontenot was thrown out at first on a terrific play by Landry, but an errant throw to second base by first baseman Andrew Starkey allowed Sam to score.
Young responded to the Eunice run by retiring the side in order in the bottom of the third to keep the score at 2-1.
Some timely hitting in the top of the fourth would lead to a big inning for the Bobcats against Landry.
Stuart Turner singled to open the inning, replaced on the bases by courtesy runner Martin Seemion. Seemion’s speed became a factor when Chris McCoy faked a bunt attempt, then pulled back at the last minute to hit a ground ball to the shortstop. Brandon Snow attempted to tag second base for the force out, but Seemion beat him to the bag, and McCoy beat the throw to first.
Young aided his own cause by drawing a walk to load the bases. Seemion scored when designated hitter Trent Vidrine was hit by a pitch, tying the score at 2-2.
Alex Comeaux then delivered the inning’s biggest hit when he drove a grounder over second base for a two-run single and a 4-2 Bobcat lead. With runners on second and third, Sam drove in a run with a ground ball to third before Jacob Fontenot’s grounder moved Comeaux to third base.
With two out, Mitchell Fuselier delivered a run-scoring single for a 6-2 lead. Fuselier would score as Tyler Fontenot tripled down the right-field line. Fontenot would later score on Turner’s single for an 8-2 Eunice lead.
Shaw responded in the bottom of the fourth, scoring three runs on run-scoring singles by Mike Pfister and Snow, along with a RBI double by Daigle. But Young (6-5) induced
Dylan Butler to fly out to McCoy in left field with the bases loaded to end the inning.
Landry would set down the Cats in order over the final three innings, but Young managed to keep the Eagles at bay with the help of solid defensive play by his teammates.
Coco did cut the lead to 8-6 with another solo home run in the sixth. Landry hit a one-out double in the seventh, but Young retired Sean Connors on a ground ball to third baseman Comeaux, then got designated hitter Jose Sandoval for the final out as Comeaux made a nice backhand grab of a looping liner in foul territory.
“I thought our focus was excellent today,” said Coach Phillips. “Our effort on defense was a key to the game.”
Turner and Tyler Fontenot had two hits apiece for the Cats. Fuselier, Sam, and Comeaux added the other Eunice hits.