Eagles win three straight shutouts, claim 6-1A title

Andrew Green agreen@postsouth.com
Grant Blanchard

The St. John Eagles are officially District 6-1A champs after dominating the East Iberville series this week.

SJHS had a full plate with two matchups against the Tigers and one at home against rival Episcopal.  They handled the tilts with ease, however, as the Eagles won each in shutout fashion.

They opened the EIHS series at home on Tuesday and came away with a 10-0 victory.  The Tigers put up a defensive fight early, however, as both teams blanked the first two innings.  St. John broke the ice with two runs in the third, followed by two in the fifth and sixth in the sixth to close out the game.

Tre Dupont was the team’s lead hitter with two, and Ben Bucher racked up a trio of RBIs followed by Landon Leblanc with two.

Barrett Gomez and Grand Blanchard split pitching duties.  Gomez pitched five of the six innings and earned nine first pitch strikes and five strikeouts.  Blanchard earned two strikeouts.

The Eagles followed up their first win of the week with a non-district home matchup against Episcopal and pulled out a 10-0 victory after  six innings.

Both teams blanked the first two innings before the Eagles put up six runs in the third, two in the fourth and closed with two more in the sixth.

Justin Rivet and Landon Leblanc were the team’s top hitters in the win with three a piece.  Leblanc racked up five RBIs, followed by Adam Blanchard with two.

Leblanc not only dominated offensively, but defensively as he took the mound in the victory.  He earned 13 first pitch strikes and eight strikeouts in the shutout.

After the non-district bout, the Eagles had their sights set on game two against rival East Iberville.  SJHS needed just one more win to secure the 6-1A crown once again, and they did so after earning a 14-0 victory on the road after five innings.

The Eagles scored fast and early with five runs in the first, followed by two in the second, three in the third and closed with four in the fifth.

Justin Rivet and Tre Dupont each earned three hits, and Leblanc earned four RBIs after a first-inning out of the park home run.  Rivet and Collin Barbee each earned two RBIs.

Grant Blanchard pitched all five innings for the Eagles and earned 10 first pitch strikes and eight strikeouts.

The last time the Eagles won the 6-1A title was not too long ago, in 2015 when they lost in round two to St. Mary’s.  Their sights are now set on making a deeper run in the playoffs this year, according to coach Chris Harrell.

“The players have earned the right to be called district champions,” Harrell said.  “It’s always exciting to win a district championship because our rivals are in the district, but the celebration is very short lived.

“We as a team are turning our sights on finishing the season on a high note and then making a run in the playoffs.”