So close and yet so far

Head Coach Jason Kinchen talks to some of the team during one of the Eagles' playoff games.

It had all the elements St. John Eagle fans have come to expect from their baseball team. A close, edge-of-your-seat game that came down to the last play.

The state championship game in Sulphur Friday looked like it would be another one and another win, like so many of the Eagles’ close games have been this season.

The set-up was perfect for the Eagles in the bottom of the seventh inning, trailing by one, 4-3.

The tying run was on base and home run slugger Landon LeBlanc – and every Eagle fan in the stands – hoped for another of LeBlanc’s homers and another walk-off win for the Eagles.

Alas, fate was not on the side of the Eagles Friday.

Despite pulling off two walk-off wins in the past three playoff games, LeBlanc couldn’t repeat Friday, leaving Ascension Catholic with the luxury of leaving with the championship trophy.

“The last at-bat for Landon, it was just a quarter of an inch from us walking off with a homerun, but that’s baseball,” said first year Head Coach Jason Kinchen.

“The kids had a heck of a season,” he continued. “I hated for it to end that way but I’m super proud of them, proud of the effort they gave.”

“I think our pitcher, Reese Barrilleaux, did an awesome job,” Kinchen said. “We just couldn’t find our groove after that first (two-run) inning.”

“We scratched just to be able to tie it up later,” he continued. “Hats off to Ascension Catholic – they did a heck of a job coming back and tying it up and then going ahead.”

“This season has mean a lot to these kids,” Kinchen said. “They believe in each other, they believe in the system and they believe in the coaching staff.”

“It was a heck of a ride,” he said. “Of course you want to finish with a victory, but we still broke a school record for wins.”

“We did put St. John baseball back on the map,” Kinchen said. “I only expect great things from St. John baseball in the future."