BATON ROUGE - Having been a component of Central’s last two Class 5A championship teams, Drew Lasseigne understands the importance of pulling out late-game victories.
Playing in just his third game of the season Saturday, Lasseigne delivered both at the plate and on the mound for the Wildcats against Parkview Baptist.
First, Lasseigne hit a two-out, two-run homer in the top of the seventh inning. Then, Lasseigne pitched out of a jam in the bottom of the seventh as Central edged Parkview 5-4 in a non-district game.
Lasseigne suffered a thumb injury after Central’s season-opener. Saturday’s game against the Eagles was just Lasseigne’s second after recovering from the injury. Lasseigne, the catcher for the Wildcats in 2018, served as the designated hitter before replacing starting pitcher Jimmie Johnson in the fifth inning.
Central (10-10) lost a 3-1 lead when Parkview scored three two-out runs in the bottom of the fifth. The Wildcats were down to their last strike, but Dalton Aspholm drew a two-out walk. Lasseigne, who was 0- for-2 with a walk, hit his home run over the fence in left centerfield.
“I had hit a fast ball well earlier in the game to right centerfield,” Lasseigne said. “They knew I could hit a fast ball. I flew out on a curve my next at-bat. I was expecting a curve this time. The first pitch was a curve (for a strike). I knew I was going to get a curve again. I knew it was coming.”
Lasseigne had retired four of the first five batters he faced going into the bottom of the seventh. Brennan Holt started the seventh with a double. Catcher Gabe Patterson made a diving catch of Kyle Washington’s bunt attempt for the first out.
Lasseigne then received some good fortune when Cade Maginnis’ line drive went right to shortstop Andrew Myrick for the second out. Lasseigne closed out the Central victory by retiring Tucker Ganley on a ground ball to third baseman Connor Cassels.
“We have a lot of guys on this team who have never played before,” Lasseigne said. “As a senior, I have to show the young guys how to face adversity and win games at the end.”
Trailing 1-0, the Wildcats went ahead with three runs in the fifth. Parkview (12-4) used five pitchers Saturday with none going longer than two innings. Walks to Brady Knaps and Myrick set up Central’s three-run fifth. Following a bunt by Sam Kenerson, Brent Chauvin tied the score with a single.
Central took a 2-1 lead on a safety squeeze bunt by Eddie Pezant. Aspholm’s RBI-double put the Wildcats on top 3-1. Johnson just couldn’t get that final out in the bottom of the inning. Successive hits by Washington, Maginnis and Ganley each drove in a run to get the lead for the Eagles.
Central threatened to retake the lead in the sixth. With runners on second and third and one out, Myrick popped out and Kenerson grounded out to the second baseman Holt. The Wildcats were on the verge of a close loss until Lasseigne hit the home run.
“For Drew to come out and do what he did for us was impressive,” Central coach Mike Forbes said. “Drew was the catalyst for our team. He put us on his shoulders. The at-bat before (by Aspholm) was just as important. He fouled off some pitches and took a quality pitch for the walk. This was the first time we had gritted out a win late this year.”
Cassels had two of the Wildcats’ seven hits. Johnson gave up four runs and five hits in 4.2 innings. Maginnis had two of Parkview’s six hits. Cooper Jones allowed the game-winning homer by Lasseigne.