It was then that the Pios had started to find a rhythm offensively and were playing near lights out defense, and it was then that the wheels were starting to come off for the underdog Warriors.
In the end, Notre Dame would pick up the 6-0 victory over Amite and, in turn, continue their state championship defense.
The win moved the Pios to a 31-2 record, while Amite ends its season with a 13-11 record.
“We scored enough to win the game,” said ND head baseball coach Tim Robichaux, “but we’re going to have to hit the ball better than we did tonight down the road (in the playoffs. But we hit it well enough to win the game.”
After a pitcher’s dual in the first inning, the game opened up for Notre Dame in the bottom of the second.
The inning started off with the returning Pete Petitjean leading off with a single. Ricky Stoma followed with a single of his own and then the runs started coming in. A double by Paiton McBride sent Petitjean home and the Pios followed with another double from Nick Gossen, which brought home Stoma. Amite managed to get out of the inning quickly after, but the damage was done and for the fourth inning out, Amite’s defense could not keep up with the Pios’ offense.
“They (Amite) had a couple of errors, that hurt them,” said Robichaux, “and we got extra at bats, good things never happen there. But we took advantage of those things.”
The problems for Amite arose after the Pios opened up the game in the bottom of the second, it was at that point that the Warriors slowly began unraveling. Starting pitcher Kyle Bracey would begin facing more and more batters in each inning. The Warriors defense also did the team no favors as throws from home to second to stop Notre Dame from stealing bases were unsuccessful and at some points even turned into errors. Amite would end the game with five errors.
As the innings changed, Bracey’s command over his pitches did as well and Notre Dame would capitalize on several walks and players being hit by wild pitches. Bracey would pitch all six innings, allowing six runs (five earned), seven hits, three walks and two hit-by-pitches. His lone two strikeouts were the bright spots in Bracey’s performance.
But each time the Warriors would make a mistake, the Pios had the opportunity to get on base and make plays. Notre Dame would capitalize on those opportunities, plating two more runs in the bottom of the fourth and one more in the bottom of the fifth and sixth, bringing the final tally to six for Notre Dame.
The aggression at the plate and on the bases of the Pios also served them well, which is something that has been a common theme for Notre Dame this year.
“Down the road, we will have to situational hit more ... but we try to get into scoring position as quick as we can,” said Robichaux.
Leading the Pios offensively were Luke Bourgeois (1-3, RBI), Petitjean (2-3), Gossen (2-2, RBI), Brennan Corzine (1-3, triple, RBI) and Ricky Stoma (1-3).
While, the offense played well, it was not the biggest reason the Pios picked up the win. Notre Dame’s defense, particularly the pitching of Austin Robichaux (10-0, 7 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 14 K, 1 BB).
“Austin came out throwing strikes, setting the tone early,” said Robichaux. “Overall, Austin setting the tone at the mound is what helped us.”
Austin helped indeed set the pace by striking out three and forcing three to ground out in the first two innings alone. He would end the day with 14 strikeouts and only allowed one hit.
But, overall, Notre Dame’s defense played a sound game, and it seemed almost perfect fitting that the game Thursday ended on a diving catch by an outfielder, this time it was McBride in the left field.
“We played good defense,” said Robichaux. “We’ve played good defense all year long.”
Notre Dame will take on Bunkie (16 seed, 19-9 record) at home Tuesday night at 6 p.m.