HAMMOND -- It’s hard enough going on the road to face a defending state champion, but when that visiting team lets its guard down, things can get out of hand rather quickly.

French Settlement lost focus in the middle innings, giving up three runs in the 3rd and five in the 4th and eventually fell 9-0 to St. Thomas Aquinas in a District 9-2A matchup on Wednesday.

“Against a team like that, you have to stay focused in all 7 innings,” French Settlement coach Jaime Gautreau said. “(St. Thomas Aquinas) is on a little bit higher level than we are right now.

“I knew when we gave up those three runs in (the 3rd inning),it was going to be tough coming back.”

The Lions (18-6, 3-4) looked like they might make a run at the Falcons in the top of the 1st inning.

After Bryant Johnson flew out to left field, FSHS loaded the bases with one out on a walk and two singles. But STA pitcher Trey Milazzo struck out Micah Champagne looking and Jackson LeBourgeois swinging to end the threat and keep the game scoreless.

The Falcons () cracked the scoring column in the bottom of the 3rd, scoring three unearned runs on a routine grounder that FSHS shortstop Cam Guitreau misplayed, allowing two runners to score. The Lions gave up another run when Milazzo belted a double to center field that scored Kyle King to make it 3-0.

STA broke the game open in the bottom of the 4th when, with two outs and the bases loaded, Champ Artigues belted a double to the wall in center, clearing the bases and increasing the lead to 6-0.

King then followed Artigues with a two-run, no-doubt-about-it home run to left-center field to give the Falcons an insurmountable 8-0 lead.

Milazzo’s sacrifice fly supplied an insurance run in the bottom of the 6th.

French Settlement could only manage three hits after the 1st inning, with Guitreau leading the way, going 2-for-3 with two singles.

Johnson started on the mound for the Lions, throwing 4 innings, walking two, giving up eight runs and striking out none to fall to 4-3. Remi Watts pitched the final 2 innings, giving up two hits and striking out one.

The Lions left six runners on base and sent the minimum to the plate in 4 innings..

Gautreau gave all the credit to STA, which won the Class 2A state title last season.

“I have to tip my cap to them – they were real good last year and they aren’t too bad this year either,” he said with a smile.

FSHS will next face district foe Springfield twice next week6 p.m. Tuesday at home and 6 p.m. on April 20 at Springfield.

STA 9, French Settlement 0

FSHS                000   000   0  --  0   5   3

STA                  003   501   x  --  9   8   0

Bryant Johnson, Remi Watts (5) and Micah Champagne; Trey Milazzo, Blair Rodrigue (7) and Sam Smith. W -- Milazzo. L -- Johnson (4-3). 2B: STA --  Champ Artigues, Milazzo, Alex Egan. HR: STA -- Kyle King. Records: French Settlement 18-6, 3-4 District 9-2A; STA 20-5, 7-0. Up next: Springfield at French Settlement, 6 p.m. Tuesday.

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