Saints cut to the Chase, win first title in 10 years
SULPHUR — With the bases loaded and St. Louis Catholic one out from the Division II state championship, Saints head coach Matt Fontenot didn’t think twice about leaving senior reliever Chase Wilson on the mound, and he didn’t disappoint.
Wilson struck out the final batter he faced and second-seeded St. Louis beat No. 1 Parkview Baptist 6-3 Saturday for its first state champion since 2011.
“We had confidence in Chase,” Fontenot said. “He is another one that has battled adversity on the mound and found a way to get better all year. We knew he would give us everything he (had) there at the end. We had ourselves in a position to make a change if we needed to, but we knew he had the ball.”
Wilson was named the game’s most outstanding player. He entered with two on and no outs in the bottom of the fourth inning and got three consecutive outs. He also got out of a jam in the sixth inning with back-to-back strikeouts. Wilson finished with five strikeouts, three walks, allowing one run on two hits.
“Man, it feels good,” Wilson said. “We have been waiting for this moment all year, and it finally came true.
“I knew my guys were behind me. They kept backing me up and giving me encouraging words like they did all year. I had to do it for them. It feels amazing. It is like a dream come true. We don’t do much dreaming at St. Louis. We try to be nightmares. That has just been our theme and I think we finished it off.”
The championship capped a banner year for St. Louis athletics. While recovering from two devastating hurricanes and going to class in temporary buildings, the Saints won six state titles, including boys golf and tennis, girls indoor and outdoor track and basketball.
“Just everything this area, the St. Louis community, the Southwest Louisiana community has endured the last nine months just shows how resilient this group of boys is,” Fontenot said. “The last two years our hashtag has been ‘It’s time.’
“I think for this group, and St. Louis Catholic, it was time to bring the championship back to this ballclub and program. Six championships in a year that the whole school has just struggled to get through is just a testament to the Saints and how they fight on. As their coach, I can’t be more proud of the work they have put in. They deserved it.”
The Saints (25-12) fell behind after Parkview’s (33-2) Hunter Ponson hit a two-run home run in the first inning. But senior shortstop Evan Joubert hit the equalizer in the third inning, a two-run bomb that landed in the parking lot behind the left-field wall.
“I felt like we have been in some big games this year with the Barbes of the world and Sam Houstons,” Fontenot said. “But we were in the moment for a second there, and that was huge just to break that ice and start playing good baseball.”
St. Louis took the lead in the third inning. William Millican lined a two-out RBI single off Ryan Hardland and J.D. Soileau scored on an error on the same play for a 4-2 lead.
The Saints added an unearned run in the fifth inning, and Jake LaRocca hit an RBI single in the seventh inning.
St . Louis’ Evan Joubert rounds the bases after hitting a two-run home run against Parkview Baptist during the Division II championship game Saturday at McMurry Park in Sulphur.