St. Charles Catholic downs University High to earn program’s first state baseball championsip
Congrats to St. Charles Catholic the Division II State Champions! pic.twitter.com/6kagohWWQR
— LHSAA (@LHSAA) May 14, 2019
For St. Charles Catholic, eight is enough.
After seven trips to the state championship game, the Comets are finally state champions.
The sixth-seeded Comets erupted for six runs in the top of the third inning and went to handle top seed University High 7-4 at McMurry Park in Sulphur Tuesday in the Division II title game of the Allstate Sugar Bowl LHSAA prep baseball classic.
In a matchup of unbeaten pitchers, one lived up to his record while the other had an unusually tough outing at the worst possible time.
Senior Nick Lorio of St. Charles Catholic pitched a complete game, scattering 10 hits, to improve to 9-0. Lance Wade of University High was unable to stem the tide, allowing six runs on seven hits in three innings.
A team that always plays in intense, fiery fashion caught fire for the big inning.
After dominating through two innings with four strikeouts, Wade ran into huge trouble in the top of the third inning.
With one out, TJ Lasseigne drew a walk before the Comets erupted for five straight hits. Peyton Broussard singled before Kaile Levantino double home a run to make it 1-0. Robby Gilbert followed with a two-run double to make it 3-0.
Lorio produced an RBI single and it was 4-0 and Eli Ory followed with another RBI single to make it 5-0. Joe Chiarella drove in the final run of the frame with groundout to first base and it was 6-0 as St. Charles Catholic sent 10 men to the plate in the inning.
The Comets (31-8) added on in the top of the fourth against Cubs relief pitcher Aleksander Popov. With one out, Broussard walked and Levantino reached on an error. Gilbert followed with his third RBI of the afternoon with a single to center, scoring Broussard to make it 7-0.
The Cubs (29-8) finally got to Lorio in the bottom of the fifth as Dylan Carmouche walked and scored on an RBI double by Brock Slaton to make it 7-1.
U-High added another in the bottom of the sixth as Derek Lathon was hit by a pitch and scored on a pop-up double by Popov on a ball that two outfielders watched and neither made a play on as it dropped between the two of them.
The Cubs scored their final two runs in the bottom of the seventh on consecutive singles by Carmouche and Ethan Butler, an RBI groundout by Reid Segar and an RBI single by Christian Scherer. Wade followed with a single, bringing the tying run to the plate but Lorio got Lathon to ground back to him to end it.
St. Charles Catholic ran aggressively and ran well, stealing four bases in as many attempts.
Gilbert earned the Most Outstanding Player honors, going 3-for-4 with a double, a run scored and three RBI. Popov pitched well in relief for U-High, allowing just one unearned run on two hits in four innings pitched.
“We’ve been working for this for four years,” said Gilbert about his senior class. “Coach (Stein) said he was waiting for this class to come through as seniors and win it, and we pulled it through for him.”
To say that the Comets earned the state title would be an understatement. St. Charles Catholic mowed down two-time defending state champion and third seed Teurlings Catholic and No. 2 St. Thomas More on the road before dismissing the top-seeded Cubs.
For Stein, a St. Charles Catholic graduate, it was a spiritual experience.
“First and foremost, I thank God and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” Stein said. “It works in mysterious ways. The last two weekends, what’s happened with the weather, we went to mass as a team and those were special times. It means a lot.”
Stein pointed to offensive execution, a season-long staple, as a key to the victory.
“The kids put on a clinic swinging the bats,” Stein said. “That’s how we got here. We got on a roll today and I could not be prouder of our guys.”
Stein was really pleased with the way his team adjusted at the plate after struggling against Wade in the first two innings.
“I thought we had some bad body language early on the strike zone so we got together and said we’re not going to go home talking about the time we had a chance to win a championship and the umpire’s zone was too big,” Stein said. “Take it away, get on top of the plate, make him throw it in and if he does, get hit. We started to hit the ball the other way and once we did, momentum took over.”
It was the second straight year that University High lost in the Division II title game as the No. 1 seed. Teurlings Catholic beat the Cubs 10-3 for the championship in 2018.
SCC 006 100 0 7 9 1, 6 LOB
UNI 000 011 2 4 10 1, 10 LOB
WP—Nick Lorio (9-0)
LP—Lance Wade (9-1)
Time of Game: 2:08
SB—Eli Ory, Peyton Broussard, Chris Bosio, Nick Lemoine
2B—Kaile Levantino, Robby Gilbert, Caleb St. Martin, Derek Lathon, Brock Slaton, Aleksander Popov
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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…