Bobcats hold Flashes hitless

Published 11:45 am Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Thanks to an expansion to 24 teams in all six classes this season, St. Aloysius still has a shot to make the postseason.

But the Flashes can do no better than third place in Division 7-1A and their pride took a big hit when they were no-hit by Bogue Chitto’s Zach Avants Monday night at Bazinsky Field.

It was not a perfect game for Avants, as he hit St. Al’s Josh Eargle twice in the arm and the Bobcat defense committed an error. But the 10-0 final score was perfect enough for the Bobcats, who completed a two-game season sweep of the Flashes. Going into last Thursday’s game in Bogue Chitto, which the Bobcats also won 10-0, they had not beaten St. Al in seven years.

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Bogue Chitto coach Jody Britt was pleased as the Bobcats improved to 14-5 overall and 5-1 in the division.

“We’ve been able to turn around the program this year,” Britt said. “We had a real good game tonight. If West Lincoln can beat Cathedral once, we win the division. If not, Cathedral wins, we’re two, and St. Al is three.”

First-year St. Al coach Jacan Warren is now left to use the regular season’s final four games to build some momentum when the first round begins in two weeks against the No. 2 team from Division 5. The Flashes are now 2-16. St. Al was 52-12 in the past two years with back-to-back state 1A titles.

“They just wanted it more than we did,” Warren said. “We’re good enough to beat them. But we have to take it pitch-by-pitch. Their kid threw strikes.”

For four innings, St. Al’s Judson Gatling had the Flashes in the game, down just 2-0. Then came the fifth, when Gatling’s pitches started to elevate and his defense fell apart behind him.

The Bobcats strung together two hits and a bunt to load the bases. A ground ball to short was botched, allowing Avants to score and Hunter Ginn to reach on the fielder’s choice.

Michael Martin followed with a two-run single to right. Martin was caught in a rundown, but it allowed Ginn to score to make it 6-0. A hit by Brock Roberts extended the inning.

Gatling appeared to have ended things by striking out Kevin Brothern, but the third strike was dropped and an overthrow of first base by the St. Al catcher allowed Brothern to reach and Roberts to score. An error at third base on a ball hit by Reid Bales made it 8-0.

Ginn’s two-run single in the sixth gave the Bobcats 10 runs and a chance to end the game by run rule, provided Avants could keep St. Al off the board.

Avants made quick work of St. Al, getting three straight ground balls to end the game. He finished with six strikeouts, no walks and two hit batsmen. St. Al had only two runners reach second base and one of those was doubled off after a fly out to center.

Avants led the Bobcats at the plate with two hits and two runs scored. Martin had two singles and two RBIs while Ginn drove in three.