Baseball Playoffs: St. August Ace Kenya Huggins has settled in after a difficult start to help prepare the spark win sport
Shaw faced St. Augustine ace pitcher Kenya Huggins for three runs in the first inning of his Division I regional playoff game on Saturday at Wesley Barrow Stadium.
Huggins then knocked out the Eagles for the next five innings before being exonerated on a pitch count, and the Purple Knights used the clutch to hit on the way to a 7-4 win.
St. Augustine (16-16) with the number 8 won the first two games of the three-game series and reached the quarter-finals against CE Byrd with the number 1. The teams will play a three-game series from Wednesday in Shreveport.
Shaw (15-20) scored three runs on a one-time RBI double from first baseman Logan Muhleisen, a single from catcher Parker Smith scored Muhleisen and an RBI groundout and put the Eagles 3-2 ahead. A mistake by Purple Knights also helped the Eagles.
“I was just trying to find my release point in the first inning,” said Huggins, a Louisiana Tech signatory. “Then I talked to my coaches. I found out that on my first place they guessed it was going to be a fastball and they guessed right and hit the ball.
“So I started to switch – slider, change, fastball, throw in and out, move.”
The rest of the way, Huggins scattered four singles, walked two, and beat seven – including the side in the sixth, his final inning – by not allowing a run.
In the meantime, St. Aug regained the lead in the third. Batsman-designate Shannon Martin took out and made a mistake, catcher Kabrel Johnson followed for a walk and shortstop Jeffery Duroncelay put her in second and third. The first baseman Leon Franklin brought them with a brace to the left in the middle and led 4: 3 against the Eagles reliever Cole Guidry.
The Knights added two runs of victim flies from centerfielder Jordy Montgomery and catcher Johnson in run four. St. Aug made it 7-3 in the sixth on Montgomery’s brace to the left, which Martin scored from first base.
Shaw’s coach Doug Faust credited the two goals from Huggins and St. Aug, but also noted his team’s nine walks. Four of starter Logan Pulliam came in the first as the Knights scored two runs. A walk preceded the big RBI hit in the third and the RBI double in the sixth.
“We swung the bats as well as they did, we played defense,” said Faust. “The difference in the game was the free base runners, the walks.
“Give St. Aug credit. You did a good job laying off pitches. You were patient. The turning point was that we didn’t add (runs) and it broke away from us.
“We had a good game plan against Huggins, got on his fastball and didn’t let him come before us. It was successful. But that would only take him until he knew what we were doing. “
Shaw scored a run in the seventh on Smith’s doubles against Ryan Stripling, coming from second base and relieving Huggins to start the inning.
Purchases made via links on our website can earn us a partner commission