Pre-Majors dominant on Day 1, Majors struggle to produce
VIDALA — The Pre-Majors East Central all-stars team played to its strengths with strong pitching and sound hitting to defeat Independence 13-4 Saturday night in Vidalia, while the Majors East Central all-stars failed to produce at the plate in a 5-0 defeat to Ponchatoula.
The beginning of the Pre-Majors game was a familiar sight for those who watched the Cathedral Green Wave in the spring, as Thomas Garrity struck out the side in the top half of the inning.
After not scoring in the bottom of the first, Garrity got himself into a bind by hitting two players and walking another before a passed ball cost East Central two runs in the second inning. The Pre-Majors all-star team bounced back in the bottom half of the inning with a two-out 2-RBI single by Garrity and an RBI double by Jake Barlow behind him. An error in the ensuing inning allowed Independence to tie the game 3-3.
Head coach Sessions Vestal was displeased with the sloppy play in the first three innings, but his team would clean in it up in the latter half of the ballgame.
“The last few innings we got it all together, but the first few, we have to work on not making as many errors,” said Vestal, pointing out three errors committed.
A 2-RBI double by Marquis Buckner gave East Central a 5-3 lead in the fourth inning, and East Central would go on to add eight more runs, including a six-run sixth inning propelled by multiple Independence errors, to close out the game.
Vestal held Garrity to a 71-pitch count, which allows him to be available for Monday’s game. Had he pitched more than 75 pitches, he would have had to wait 40 hours before he could pitch instead of 30. Garrity recorded seven strikeouts on the mound in three innings pitched, while Chandler Grayson and Calvin McCarroll provided strong relief.
“Thomas shut them down, and then Chandler did and, of course, Calvin brought the heat,” Vestal said.
McCarroll had a 2-RBI triple in the sixth inning.
The Pre-Majors East Central team will play in the winner’s bracket at 1:30 p.m. today against Monroe.
“Anybody who’s ever played in Louisiana, you know we never beat Monroe,” Garrity told his teammates following the game. “Let’s get it done.”
Ponchatoula 5, East Central 0
VIDALIA — Solid defense and a great outing on the mound wasn’t missing for the major’s tournament opener against Ponchatoula, however, hitting was a key ingredient missing in East Central’s loss.
Josh Foucher was the only member on East Central to record a hit in the game, and despite loading the bases on multiple occasions, East Central’s approach at the plate remained ineffective.
“Three or four times we had a runner on second or third and we couldn’t get the big hit,” said head coach Greg Naquin. “That was the key of the game.”
Naquin said Brandon Ross gave his team a solid outing on the mound, and William Handjis hit locations in relief.
The majors turn their attention toward Independence at 1:30 p.m. today in the loser’s bracket.
Naquin hopes to see more lively bats.
“We have to come out (today) and do something different with the bats,” he said.