MAUREPAS — Based on raw numbers alone — at least on one side of the scoreboard — there wasn’t a lot for Maurepas coach Anthony Gregoire to complain about Thursday afternoon.
It was the other side, and how visiting Georgetown arrived at its run total, that had the Wolves coach shaking his head.
Georgetown jumped ahead early, padded the lead to six runs and then withstood the Wolves’ persistent effort to come back for a 13-9 triumph in a Class C state quarterfinal playoff game.
The victory propels the Bulldogs (15-7) to the state tournament in Sulphur for the first time since 2006 and halts second-seeded Maurepas’ bid for a Class C berth after making the Class B event last spring.
“We brought back a lot of kids from last year and we had big goals,” Gregoire said. The Wolves (17-9) were a state semifinalist in 2011. “We thought we could compete with anybody and we were hoping we’d get another look at Family Christian, who I think is the best team in Class C.”
Instead, a flurry of walks (12) and leaving the bases loaded in back-to-back innings proved to be the difference in an offensive slugfest.
Maurepas starter Ryan Larkey walked two batters with one out in the first inning and moved both runners up with a wild pitch, and Georgetown third baseman Jace Sauce made him pay when he punched a single to right field for a quick 2-0 advantage.
Before the Wolves managed to get through their lineup once, the lead ballooned to 6-0 in the third inning when Larkey again lost track of the strike zone. He walked three and hit another batter before giving way to Denver Delatte. The Bulldogs mixed in a pair of RBI hits to send Maurepas into comeback mode.
And the Wolves didn’t waste any time.
Down 6-0, Maurepas got two runs back in each of the next two innings — on Larkey’s monstrous two-run home run to right field and Jace Berthelot’s two-run double with two outs in the fourth. They squandered two golden chances to draw even or go ahead, though.
After Berthelot’s double, Blake Johnson and Larkey walked to load the bases, but Georgetown reliever John Palmer coaxed Tyler Delatte into a popup to end the threat.
Then after Georgetown nudged the lead back to 8-4, Maurepas’ Chaz Scivicque cracked a leadoff double and two batters later Devan Sheridan poked a sky-high fly ball to right field that turned into a two-run inside-the-park home run.
The gap closed to 8-6, the Wolves loaded the bases on walks with two outs, but another reliever — Nick Ulmer — snuffed the rally out when he got Larkey on a shallow fly ball to the shortstop in left field.
“We just could not get the big hit when we had to have one,” Gregoire said. “That was the difference in the game. When you score nine runs in a game, you should win. But we needed more than that because we walked 12 and hit two and just weren’t as solid as we have been all year.”
Meanwhile, Georgetown didn’t miss many opportunities. The Bulldogs put the game away in the seventh with five runs, with Sauce again coming up big with a two-run double to give him five RBIs.
Maurepas didn’t go quietly, as Donavan Thibodeaux, Johnston and Larkey all hit doubles to right field and Tyler Delatte plated a run with an RBI groundout.
But the comeback fizzled and Georgetown’s Treavor Curtis — who started the game but left in the fourth inning — ended the Wolves’ season when he got Scivicque to fly out to center field.
“When they got down, I knew they’d come fighting back and they did,” Georgetown coach M.C. Keathley said. “They made us earn it.”
Which wasn’t a surprise to Gregoire.
“These kids have battled hard all season and I knew they’d take their hacks,” he said. “We just got too far behind this time.”
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