Big 4th inning sinks Berwick

By PRESTON GILL

pgill@daily-review.com

BERWICK — The Berwick High School baseball season and the prep careers of five Panther seniors came to an end on a soggy diamond Tuesday night as Notre Dame rode strong pitching and explosive hitting to a 17-4 Class 3A regional round win.

“They were better than we were tonight,” Panther skipper Mike Thomas said. “But, I don’t think they were 13 runs better than us.”

A nine-run fourth inning by Notre Dame looked like it might bring the end of the game early. But, trailing 13-1, the Panthers bounced back and crossed the plate three times to extend the game past the fifth inning.

“They didn’t quit,” Thomas said of his team, facing a 10-run rule early ending. “They could have folded, but they didn’t. Hats off to them for making it a seven-inning game.”

Trailing 13-1 and needing three runs to keep the game going past the fifth inning, Brooks Richard led off the bottom of the fifth with a walk and stole second base. Ian Bergeron drew a walk but was wiped off the bases on a double play.

Richard scored on a two-out passed-ball before Nick Duthu and designated hitter Logan Theriot each walked. Both scored on Anthony Richard’s single. Richard finished the game 1-for-3 with two RBIs.

“It was a little disappointing not to finish the game in five innings,” Notre Dame High School coach Tim Robichaux said.

Berwick’s earlier run had crossed the plate in the third inning when Duthu stroked a two-out double to the right field wall. The hit scored Justin Morvant, who was running for Bergeron. Bergeron had reached base on an error.

In the game, Notre Dame pounded out 16 hits with only one error. They left seven men on base.

Berwick’s four pitchers combined to walk six and hit two batters. All but one of the Pios’ runs were earned.

Losing pitcher Brannon Melancon (four earned runs, two strikeouts, six hits) got out of a first-inning jam when he loaded the bases with one out. Gavin Bourgeois opened the game with a first-pitch single. Brad Stone reached base on an error, and with one out, Alex Rozas was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Melancon got a strikeout and a fly out to keep the game scoreless.

Berwick missed a chance for a big inning and to take an early lead in the second. Theriot and Richard started the inning with walks.

With one out, Bobby Boudreaux walked to load the bases. But the Pioneers turned a double play to end the threat.

“Double plays have helped us all year and kept the second inning from getting out of hand tonight,” Robichaux said.

Throughout the game, the Pios pitchers combined for nine walks.

After a 30-pitch second inning, Alex Houston appeared in complete control until he was relieved in the fifth inning. He finished allowing one earned run on one hit. He struck out eight and walked six.

After facing just three batters in the second inning, Melancon gave up two hits to start the third. A suicide squeeze scored Taylor Faulk, who was running for Bourgeois. Sam Veillion got a groundout RBI, followed by RBI singles from Brennan Corzine and Jaques Thibodeaux, to give Notre Dame a 4-0 lead.

The Panthers started the fifth inning with a pitching change, and Dillan Gilbert powered a one-out, three-RBI home run off Tim Shelby (allowed four earned runs on three hits and two walks), who was relieved by Daniel Gray two batters later.

The first batter that Gray (allowed three earned runs on three hits) faced hit an RBI double in the right field gap. After giving up two more hits and two runs, he was replaced.

Duthu was moved to the mound where he gave up a one-out, bases loaded double to Bourgeois, which plated three runs. Duthu (allowed six runs — three earned —fanned four, and surrendered four hits and three walks) got out of the inning with a strikeout and an induced popup.

Berwick, which was limited to three hits, also received offensive contributors from Nick Duthu, 1-for-3, a double and an RBI; and Logan Theriot, 1-for-2.

Thomas said his team was outplayed Tuesday night, but he praised the determination, grit and effort displayed by his players. He especially pointed out the leadership seniors Reed Leonard, Richard, Nick Osburn, Theriot and Bergeron have shown all season and for the four years that they have stuck with the team.

“They helped Berwick High School get better,” Thomas said. “They did an excellent job. They will be sorely missed.”

In the final inning, Notre Dame picked up four runs on an RBI single from Gilbert, an RBI on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Corzine and two RBIs on a double by Joe Faulk.

With two outs, Theriot got the last hit of the season for Berwick, but the Panthers were unable to score any runs to cut into the final score.

Bourgeois finished the game pitching for Notre Dame. He gave up two earned runs on two hits in three innings. He struck out two and surrendered four walks.

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