Baseball Bears Defeat Hahnville To Move into State Quarterfinals
They say a team takes on the identity of their head coach. If you know Brad Bass, you know the Catholic High baseball coach loves being challenged, loves being backed against a wall.
The Bears entered Tuesday night tied with Hahnville, one game apiece, in a best of three series. Tuesday’s winner would advance to the state quarterfinals, the loser’s season over. With that challenge on their hands, the Bears followed the lead of their head coach and met the visiting Tigers head on, scoring five runs in the first three innings en route to a 5-1 win.
Starting pitcher Parker Evans was one of the stories of the game, throwing 85 pitches with 55 going for strikes, in a complete game gem. The junior righty (6-0) threw a two-hitter while yielding just two hits and walking two Tiger hitters. Hahnville could never solve Evans and scored its lone run in the fifth.
The Bears scored two in the second, courtesy of two Hahnville errors and a double by Cole Johnson. In the bottom of the third, Brandon Fairbanks led off with a single and was followed by Josh Smith’s homerun, his sixth of the season, to put Catholic ahead 4-0. The Bears tacked on a run later in the inning on Patrick Crifasi’s rbi single to extend the lead to 5-0.
When the dust settled after six and a half innings of play, the 29-6 Bears belted out 12 hits, struck out three times and made only one error on defense.
“I am very proud of our guys for battling back from being down one game to none. We faced a very good pitcher on Friday and were 21 outs from elimination,” said Bass. “There was no panic in our guys and there was no doubt we were winning this series. I was a confident coach on Saturday and tonight because that was the feeling the players gave me. We will enjoy this one tonight, then get prepared for a very good Blue Jay team.”
Catholic moves on to the quarterfinals, the elite eight of Class 5A baseball, for the fourth time in as many years under fifth year coach Brad Bass. The 4th seeded Bears will meet the 5th seeded Jesuit Blue Jays beginning Friday, May 6 at Grizzly Field. The 26-7 Jays are a perennial power in Class 5A and the majority of its 2016 squad is coming off a national runner-up performance in the American Legion World Series this past summer. Jesuit has won the 5A state title four times in the last 15 years and is expected to bring a nice following with them to Baton Rouge this weekend.
Friday nights game at Grizzly Field will begin at 6 p.m. This weekend’s series against Jesuit will be streamed live on SportsNOLA.com. Fridayí´s webcast will begin just prior to the 6 p.m. first pitch, while Saturdayí´s coverage will begin just before noon. Ken Trahan and Danny Riehm, the regular broadcast team for baseball coverage on the First NBC Bank Prep Showcase, will provide commentary both days on SportsNOLA.
Additionally, the Saturday games of the Jesuit-Catholic series will air on WGSO 990 AM and will also be accessible online at wgso.com. First NBC is also sponsoring Saturdayí´s radio broadcasts.