MONROE — University High pitcher Manny Miles said his father, LSU football coach Les Miles, only saw three of his games before Friday’s Class 2A semifinal against top-seeded Calvary Baptist.
With spring football over, the LSU coach made the trip to Monroe, along with his wife, Kathy, and daughter, Macy, and Manny made sure to put on a show.
The sophomore right-hander threw a no-hitter through five innings as the No. 4 Cubs defeated Calvary Baptist 12-1. Most importantly it put U-High in the 2A final against Evangel at the LHSAA state tournament at 1 p.m. Saturday at the University of Louisiana-Monroe’s Warhawk Field.
“I love having my family behind me,” said Miles, who threw a no-hitter earlier this season against Episcopal in March. “They’re my biggest supporters. They’ve been there for me when I’ve had bad years and when I’ve had good years. They’re always there.”
Miles (11-0) faced the minimum of three batters in four of his five innings. The five base runners reached base on three walks, a fielder’s choice and an error.
“It’s not that I had a no-hitter,” Miles said. “My defense got a no-hitter. They made great plays the whole game. I hung a curveball to (Calvary catcher) Weston Steelhammer, and he hit it a long way and our center fielder Gino (Marucci) runs it down. Then our left fielder (Jake Alexander) made a diving catch, got a bloody nose and keeps going.”
Two innings after the bloody nose, Alexander broke open a 1-1 tie in the top of the third with an RBI single up the middle to score catcher James Kern, who started the inning with another single up the middle. Those two hits were part of a seven-run inning. The Cubs (29-6) sent 11 batters to the plate on Calvary ace Garrett Williams, an Oklahoma State signee who was projected as a first-round draft pick.
“To score 12 runs off him, I thought there was no way to score 12 runs off that guy,” University coach Burke Broussard said. “We had a good plan — just try to battle him as much as we could and try to keep it a low-scoring game. We put the ball in play. They made a couple errors, and we got a couple of key hits. I’m kind of in shock right now to be honest with you.”
Marucci, Kern and Steven Sensley led the Cubs at the plate, all with two hits. Sensley’s triple during a four-run, fifth inning ended the game because of the 10-run rule.
“We knew he (Williams) was going to be good, but you can hit anybody,” said Sensley. “Nobody is unhittable.
“We just came out with that mindset and hit the ball. He got behind in the count a lot, so that let us sit on the fastball. It gave us a lot of momentum to go out on defense and relax and just play ball.”
Sensley added he hopes the 12-run surge will carry over into the title game against Evangel — a rematch of a semifinal football playoff game won by Evangel.
“It’s time to redeem ourselves,” said Sensley, who played linebacker for the Cubs in the fall.