It was a tough Spring Break for the Gator Baseball team. The week started with a cancelled road trip to Pass Christian, and was capped by a discouraging homestand on Friday night (3/8) against St. Stanislaus and Saturday (3/9) against Bay High.
What began as an encouraging start against the Rock-a-Chaws saw Gautier lose the lead late in a 13-3 defeat to St. Stanislaus. The scoring started in the top of the first inning when an error scored a run for St. Stanislaus, but that was all in the first as Gator starter Daniel Colon did a good job of keeping the hitters off balance and limiting the damage. He lasted three and two-thirds innings, allowing five hits and six runs while striking out three and walking one. Lars Saunders and Kaden Irving entered the game as relief, throwing two innings and one-third of an inning respectively.
Gautier was able to answer in the bottom of the inning when Junior catcher Skyler Roberts belted a triple into the gap, scoring Lars Saunders and Colon, but the Gators left the offense stranded at two, clinging to a one run lead.
The game was tied at two in the third when the Rock-a-Chaws took advantage of an errant throw to the plate in a first and third situation. Then, in the top of the fourth Trace Rhodes tripled on a 2-1 count, opening up the onslaught of hits and runs. The Gators struggled from that point to contain the high-powered offense, giving up 11 runs over the next three innings (four in the 4th, four in the 5th, and three in the 6th).
Colin Frederickson singled on a 1-2 count, scoring one run, Braxton Bean doubled on a 1-1 count, scoring one run, and Dawson Strong doubled on a 1-1 count, scoring one run. Bean also led things off on the pitcher's mound for St. Stanislaus. He lasted three innings, allowing two hits and two runs while striking out six Gators.
Junior outfielder Jordan Irving went 2-for-3 at the plate to lead Gautier in hits, while St. Stanislaus racked up 12 hits on the day with Strong leading the way with four hits in five at bats. The Rock-a-Chaws also helped their cause by not committing a single error in the field, while the Gators committed three.
Saturday morning against Bay didn’t go any better for the Gators, as they struggled to get their offense going, getting easily dispatched 16-2. The Tigers got on the board in the first inning when Carson Moran scored on a throw to second as Garrett Langrell easily swiped the bag, advancing to third on the errant throw. Cade Compretta then hit a deep fly ball to center, scoring Langrell from third on the tag.
In the bottom of the first inning, Gautier tied things up at two. With the bases loaded, Justin Thomas was able to score on a fielder's choice ground ball from Daniel Colon (Lars Saunders was out advancing to third). Tyrese Combest (courtesy running for Kaden Irving) was then able to score on a past ball to even up the score.
Bay then pulled away for good with six runs in the second inning in what at first appeared to be turning into a quick inning for the Gators. Untimely walks were a major part in the Gators undoing, as they racked up eight over the course of the game. Kaden Irving was on the mound for Gautier and quickly secured two outs with a strikeout and a pop out in succession. A dropped third strike to the backstop put the would-be third out at first, and a 2-1 HBP to Antonio Saltalamacchia allowed the Tigers to pounce. Carson Moran singled on a 1-1 count, scoring one run, Charlie Cook singled on the first pitch of the at bat, scoring one run, a ground ball error at third scored two runs, and Cooper Cooksey doubled on a 1-0 count, scoring one run, and in the blink of an eye it was suddenly 8-2.
The Gators couldn’t answer offensively, being blanked over the next four innings as Bay added one in the third and scored another seven in the fourth inning. The offensive firepower by the Tigers was led by Eli Bigham, Saltalamacchia, Cook, Langrell, and Compretta, all driving in runs in the inning. A scary moment came when Compretta hit a deep fly ball to left-center field. Senior outfielder Dalyn McDonald gave chase, catching the ball just at the wall, only to have it dislodged as he crashed into it and through it, suffering a concussion and face lacerations. Compretta legged out an in-the-park homerun as McDonald lay crumpled on the ground at the wall.
Cooksey got the start for Bay on the mound. He allowed one hit and two runs over five innings, striking out five, while Irving surrendered eight runs on five hits over two innings, striking out four. Cameron Gainer and Hunter Webb entered the game in relief, throwing two innings and one inning respectively.
With the break (and hopefully the unlucky breaks) behind them, the Gators will be back in action tonight (weather permitting) with a long road trip to Carriere, MS, to square of with the Pearl River Central Blue Devils. JV will play at 5, and Varsity at 7. This is Gautier’s last week of non-league play. The Gators will travel to 6A power St. Martin on Friday night (3/15) and defending 4A State Champion Vancleave on Saturday (3/16) with the district schedule starting on Monday (3/19) at Long Beach.
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