SMC ousts Morgan City, will play for title tonight
By: Staff Reports
They live in neighboring communities. Their parents work at area businesses. They are familiar with each other, either through friendship or experience on the diamond.
But on Tuesday night, friendships were set aside for a few hours and cleats were laced as St. Mary Central and Morgan City battled in an elimination game at the District 3 AAA 10-year-old Dixie Youth All-Star tournament. The winner advanced to the district tournament championship. The loser was sent home for the summer.
Ultimately, for the second time in as many meetings in the district tournament, St. Mary Central came out on top, this time with an 11-4 win.
The local squad now will face Thibodaux in the championship game today at 6 p.m.
"Last night was an exciting win on two counts," St. Mary Central coach John B. Hover said. "First, because it was against MC and the boys/coaches know each other, either through school or playing other sports. The second is we face Thibodaux again."
Earlier in the district tournament, St. Mary Central defeated Thibodaux 3-2 on Friday night but could not hold back their Lafourche Parish opponents on Monday, falling 6-5 and suffering its first defeat in the tournament.
Because both teams had one loss in the double-elimination tournament, they drew from a hat, and Thibodaux received a bye to the champinship game. St. Mary Central had to play Morgan City in an elimination game for the right to advance to today's finals.
"It was a great team effort, and we will be ready and look forward to tonight's game," Hover said.
In Tuesday’s matchup, the second in as many days, St. Mary Central faced Morgan City (SMC defeated Morgan City 17-2 in three innings on Sunday), it took St. Mary Central awhile to break open a tightly contested game.
Heading into the fourth frame, the squad — comprised of players from Berwick and Bayou Vista — held a 1-0 lead.
Before the inning, Hover gathered his squad together for a pep talk, encouraging them to take control of the game.
Six runs later and a 7-0 SMC lead, it’s safe to say Hover’s pep talk worked.
While Morgan City added a run in the bottom of the fourth inning and both teams traded runs for the remainder of the game, SMC eased into the championship game with an 11-4 win.
Adam Askew earned the win on the mound with four innings of work. Askew surrendered one run on four hits and fanned four.
Mitchell Frederick closed out the game for SMC, pitching two innings. While he gave up three runs, he struck out four batters.
"My pitching duo, Adam Askew and Mitchell Frederick," only had two walks combined in the game," Hover noted.
Leading the St. Mary Central offense was Seth Giroir, 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs; Askew, 1-for-3 with a double and two RBIs; Denver Jenkins, 2-for-4 with a double; Luke Felterman, 1-for-1 with two RBIs; and Frederick (one RBI), Abram Gilder (one RBI), Lucas Hatch and Rustin Ratcliff, all 1-for-3.
For Morgan City, Ethan Nguyen was saddled with the loss. In five innings, he struck out two.
Colt Gaspar pitched the final inning for Morgan City and surrendered an earned run.
Offensively, Bam Martin led Morgan City with a 2-for-3 performance. Other offensive leaders for the MC squad were Bryce Grizzaffi, 2-for-3; Tank Charles and Alex Brocato, each 1-for-3 with a double; Ethan Whittington and Cade Booty, each 1-for-3; Tucker Manuel and Gaspar, each 1-for-2; and Brooks Thomas, 1-for-4.
Despite the defeat, Grizzaffi, Morgan City’s shortstop, made several defensive gems. In the fifth inning, he fell down fielding a hard-hit shot by a St. Mary Central batter, and then threw the batter out at first while sitting on the infield.
The winner of tonight’s championship game will advance to the South Regional in Ponchatoula, while the runner-up will advance to Monroe for the North Regional. Both will be played on July 29.
"Tonight is the final battle on the bayou, and I'm confident my boys will be ready," Hover said.