LaRocca’s two HRs lift Saints
Damian Juneau, Special to the American Press
The second-seeded St. Louis Saints, behind two home runs from Jake LaRocca, took an 11-5 win Saturday over the St. Michael Warriors in the Division II quarterfinals.
“It just shows the resiliency of our group as we played a gauntlet of a schedule early,” said St. Louis head coach Matt Fontenot. “We didn’t have a stadium all year and crossed the bridge to practice in Sulphur every single day. The kids just showed up and continued to work. I am very proud of them.”
St. Louis swept the best-ofthree series to advance to the state tournament this week at McMurry Park in Sulphur, where they will play at 10 a.m. Thursday against Vandebilt Catholic.
The Saints were first to get on the board in the third inning. William Millican scored the first run on a James Reina sacrifice bunt. LaRocca stepped to the plate and hit a three-run homer over the scoreboard to give the Saints a 4-0 lead.
The Warriors answered in the bottom of the third inning with a couple of runs. Josh Murray scored the first run on a fielder’s choice, and the Codi Williams scored on a throwing error.
The Saints held on to the 4-2 lead after three innings.
St. Louis looked to extend its lead in top of the fifth. Reina reached base on a single to open the inning. LaRocca followed with his second homer of the game, adding two runs and extending the lead to 6-2.
The Saints scored three more in the sixth inning. Jason Shamsie’s RBI double scored Aiden Welsh. Jason Shamsie scored on a sacrifice fly, and Evan Joubert scored the final run of the inning on a wild pitch to make the score 9-2.
St. Louis scored its final two runs — Ryan Baron and Millican — in the top of the seventh.
St. Michael looked to rally late as it scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh.
Thomas Watson was the winning pitcher. LaRocca led the Saints by going 2-for-4 with five RBIs. Reina as 2-for-5 and scored twice.
“Jake LaRocca had a great game,” Fontenot said. “Every time he steps up to the box he embraces the big moments and did what he does as a competitor.”
Phillip Hines took the loss after pitching five innings. Codi Williams was 3-for-3 with two runs.
St. Louis’Jake LaRocca, No. 5, celebrates after hitting one of his two home runs against St. Michael during a Division II quarterfinal game Saturday at Cowboy Stadium. The Saints advanced to the state tournament.
St. Louis’ Thomas Watson gets the start in game 2 of 3 against St. Michael at Cowboy Stadium in Lake Charles, Louisiana on Saturday, May 8, 2021.