MAUREPAS – Saying good-bye is never easy and Maurepas coach Anthony Gregoire felt no differently after a teary-eyed locker room bid farewell to the 2019 season.
“It’s tough every year,” Gregoire said. “Each (senior) group is always special. It’s another special group. It’s tough the way we lost it.”
Ninth-seeded Maurepas found itself in an early four-run hole before stepping foot into the batter’s box with top-seeded Pitkin steadily increasing its lead throughout en route to a 10-2 victory in Friday’s Class B state quarterfinal playoff.
The Wolves (18-12) added a run in the bottom of the first but the Tigers (26-5) reeled off an additional five runs to put the game out of reach at 10-1 and punch their ticket to a second consecutive Class B state semifinal next Wednesday.
“They’re seasoned and well rounded,” Gregoire said of Pitkin, who also defeated his team 12-0 on March 9. “We played this same group when they were eighth graders and freshmen. They came here four years ago, and we beat them 10-3. They’ve just been together and that’s what happens.”
Pitkin made life miserable in the opening inning for Maurepas starting pitcher Chase Guitreau.
The Tigers had seven of their first eight batters successfully reach base to open a 4-0 lead, taking advantage of three hit batters along the way.
Shortstop Adrian Nolen singled home two runs for Pitkin, who after two outs, benefitted from a throwing error to add two more runs.
“It’s tough with the way we came out and did things,” Gregoire said. “We talked about it all year. We can’t hit batters. We can’t walk batters. I don’t know if they could put three hits in a row to score enough runs. But we walked people and hit batters and they did get the big hit. That’s the game of baseball.”
Guitreau, one of four seniors playing in their final home game, seemed to settle down by retiring Pitkin in order in the second and getting the first out of the third. He then issued back-to-back walks and Clay LeBlanc followed with a two-run triple, a ball that landed just out of the reach of a diving Aiden McCoy in the right-center gap.
“We talked about if we went down four runs, I didn’t think we had enough offense to make it (up),” Gregoire said. “We had to keep them under four and pick up a run here and there. We scratched for a run in the first to make it 4-1, but it should have been 2-1 at the time. Just some bad things happened.”
Maurepas scored in the first when Hunter Dupuy drew a walk, stole both second and third and scored on Guitreau’s sacrifice bunt.
Pitkin right-hander Garrett Edwards did not allow another base runner until Dupuy’s two-out solo home run to right field in the bottom of the sixth.
Edwards retired 17 straight batters until Dupuy’s homer followed by a walk to Cole Bovia. He walked two and struck out nine before Grason Dauzat finished up the seventh inning with a pair of strikeouts, a walk and groundout.
“We’ve seen some good arms in Class B and he’s up there as one of the better pitchers,” Gregoire said of Edwards. “He got ahead of us and wanted us to hit his pitch. He had a good down angle on the baseball. We tried to square it up to go up and we had too many pop ups.”
Pitkin extended its lead with single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
Guitreau (4-5) allowed six of the Tigers’ eight hits, nine runs (five earned) with five strikeouts, four hit batters and two walks over five innings. He threw 73 of 115 pitches for strikes before Dupuy finished up the final two innings.
“I told the kids in the fifth they were no different than us, but the difference was we hadn’t been able to put pressure on them,” Gregoire said. “They’re very good. I think they’ll play for the state championship.”
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