Lutcher blanks Plaquemine, wins eighth straight

PLAQUEMINE — Lutcher kept its hot streak going Thursday afternoon, earning a 3-0 against Plaquemine in a District 6-4A baseball game to extend its winning streak to eight games.

The Bulldogs (22-4) outhit the Green Devils (14-9) 11-2 in the contest, but a few baserunning blunders and a strong wind pushing in from left field limited both teams.

“I think the score was closer than the way we hit it,” said Lutcher coach Davey Clement. “I thought we hit it very good today but right at people. I’m just proud of our kids for the way they handled another close game.”

Lutcher notched its first run of the game in the opening inning after five straight singles off Plaquemine starter Ben Cavalier.

Jared Poche, who bats third in the order, lined a single into left and scored two batters later on an RBI single from Corey Merrill. All five Bulldogs who batted in the first inning recorded a hit, but some heads up fielding from Plaquemine limited the damage.

One runner was caught stealing, another was picked off by Cavalier and a third out was
recorded when a runner trying to advance to third off a base hit.

“It was good that we got that run, but it was bad because we knew we should have had a couple more,” Clement said. “But having a lead, especially in a game like today with the wind, it did kind of take a little bit of pressure off of us.”

“We know we are going to have some close games. I didn’t think we were tight. We just kept on playing.
That’s what I like about this team.”

After three quiet innings, Lutcher added to its advantage with two runs in the fifth. Leadoff man Sully Martin drew a one-out walk to start the rally and eventually stole second and third base.

Poche also reached on a walk and stole second base. A wild pitch that ricocheted hard off the dirt and into the chest of Plaquemine catcher Chris Cox allowed Martin to score and moved Poche to third. Chase Caldarera drove Poche in with an RBI single up the middle.

All the while, Lutcher freshman starter Sully Laiche was keeping Plaquemine in check, holding the Green Devils hitless until the fifth inning in just his second start of the season. Laiche, who Clement pegged as one of the better hitters in the lineup, agreed to take the mound Thursday but wanted to remain in the lineup.

“We really weren’t sure what to expect from him,” Clement said. “I put a little bit of pressure on him, because he likes hitting and he likes being in the lineup, so I told him as long as he threw strikes — especially when I saw the wind today – we’re going to keep you in there a while and you will get some at-bats. He did exactly what we needed him to do.”

Laiche lasted 5-plus innings and gave up just one hit as Lutcher capped district play with a 7-1 record.

The Bulldogs have two more games on the slate before beginning the playoffs, but Thursday marked the regular-season finale for Plaquemine, which will take a 14-9 record into the playoffs.

“We are a really young baseball team, and I’m just happy that we’re playing consistent,” said Plaquemine coach Scott Allen.

“To compete two games in a row against a program, not just a team, that’s great to see.”

We won’t see a first round opponent like this twice. If we can compete with them on a day today basis, then we are doing OK.”