St. Aug beats Rummel, advances in LHSAA baseball playoffs for first time in school history
NEW ORLEANS – It was a long time coming but the wait was worth it for long suffering fans of St. Augustine baseball and its current baseball players.
One night after winning their claiming their first-ever LHSAA playoff win in school history, St. Augustine pulled another first, advancing in the baseball state playoffs for the first time ever.
In the third and deciding game of their Division I regional round series, the 10th-seeded Purple Knights built a big early lead and held off seventh seed Archbishop Rummel 9-5 to advance to the state quarterfinals.
“It feels great, I’m just real happy for our kids,” St. Augustine head coach Al Robinson said. “Man, they worked so hard all year. This team, just from beginning to end, they just really, really work hard. I’m proud of them. We’ll move on. We’ll keep working and get ready for next week.”
The win came after the Raiders had whipped the Purple Knights 10-0 in six innings in game two earlier Friday. St. Aug had taken game one on Thursday in a 21-1 romp.
The Purple Knights took advantage of shaky Rummel pitching and defense and its own hitting to put the Raiders away. The Raiders had ample opportunities to get the job done but left the bases loaded four times in the game.
Freshman Kenya Huggins, who represents a promising future for St. Augustine baseball, went the first three and two-third innings, giving up three runs on three hits. He struggled with command, walking eight and hitting a batter but struck out seven. Senior Kendrick Edwards picked him up and went the final three and one-third innings, allowing two runs on just two hits, striking out five while walking two.
“That’s my first time being in the playoffs since I was in high school,” Edwards said. “I was just sitting in the bullpen and my coach told me to get loose about three times. I was just getting the job done. I was locked in, locked in the whole game. I was talking to my team after we lost earlier. I told them we had to get this one because it was win or go home. We got the job done.”
Robinson expected nothing less from Edwards.
“The senior came in, toughed it out and pitched some big innings for us,” Robinson said. “I’m proud of him. He’s worked hard all year and waited for this moment and he came through. We preach to stay focused, and that’s one of the big things we talked about, just stay focused and go play those seven innings we talk about.”
The Purple Knights jumped on Rummel starter Stephen Powers, who struggled initially. Will Spears singled up the middle before Powers hit Eddie Davis with a pitch and walked Dwayne McGill to load the bases. Drew Sceau drove in Spears with a groundout to third to make it 1-0 before Mike Mims delivered Davis with a sacrifice fly to right and it was 2-0.
St. Augustine added to the lead in the top of the third. Will Spears started it with a double and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Eddie Davis. With two outs, Sceau grounded to the pitcher but the throw to first was high, allowing Spears to score to make it 3-0.
Mims followed with an RBI single to make it 4-0. Another error plated another run to make it 5-0 and Tannard Darrensbourg followed with an RBI single to make it 6-0. That ended the evening for Powers as Peyton Hancock entered the game.
Yet another Rummel error resulted in yet another run and it was 7-0 before Hancock got out of the inning. In the bottom of the third, Rummel loaded the bases but did not score.
The Raiders got on the board in the bottom of the third as UNO signee Evan Francioni singled, Kade Rivera walked and Ron Franklin singled home Francioni to make it 7-1 but the Raiders stranded the bases loaded.
St. Augustine responded immediately in the top of the fourth. Hancock walked McGill, Mims singled and Jordan Vidato singled home McGill to make it 8-1, ending the evening for Hancock. Darrensbourg greeted Kaine Cassady with an RBI single to right and it was 9-1.
The Raiders showed some fight, scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth as Tyler Cook and Francioni before Chandler Fields doubled to deep right, scoring both to make it 9-3. For a third straight inning, the Raiders stranded the bases loaded as Edwards relieved starter Huggins and fanned Lane LeBlanc.
Rummel added a run in the bottom of the fourth as Kyle Albaral reached on catcher’s interference and scored on a triple to right by Francioni to make it 9-4. Kade Rivera then hit a grounder to short but the throw to first was wild, allowing Francioni to score and it was 9-5.
The Raiders had one last shot in the bottom of the seventh, loading the bases once again but Fields flied out to right to end it.
“We just didn’t make enough plays,” Rummel head coach Nick Monica said. “I think this game summed up the whole year. We saw a good team for half the game and a very bad team for half the game and that’s kind of how it’s been. It’s just hard to find consistency all year long.”
Leaving the bases loaded four times was excruciating.
“We had two at-bats that stood out to me,” Monica said. “We had full count pitches that were balls and would have scored a run for us and we go out the zone and swing at it. That was two runs that we left out there alone. You have to give credit to them. Coach Robinson is doing a good job over there. It’s just disappointing to have the great pitching performance and good defense in game one and then we had a lapse in the middle of game two that let us down.”
Mims and Darrensbourg each had two hits and two RBI to pace St. Augustine while Francioni was 2-for-3 with a pair of walks, stole a base, drove in a run and scored three runs for the Raiders (18-18).
St. Augustine (20-17) advances to face second seed Catholic of Baton Rouge in the quarterfinals in Baton Rouge next weekend.
“It’s amazing, amazing,” Edwards said. “That’s all I can really say. I’m too excited right now.”
SA 205 200 0 — 9 7 1, 5 LOB
AR 001 220 0 — 5 5 3, 13 LOB
LP—Stephen Powers (3-7)
Time of Game: 3:01
SB—Emari Evans, Ron Franklin, Evan Francioni
2B—Will Spears, Chandler Fields
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…