Knowing the fundamentals helped St. Stanislaus to 4A state champ - - The News for South Mississippi

Knowing the fundamentals helped St. Stanislaus to 4A state championship

UNDATED (WLOX) - In 2010, the St. Stanislaus Rock-a-Chaws rolled to a state championship with a sweep of Amory. Current assistant coach Boomer Scarborough was a part of that team, as was 2014 Yankees second-round pick Jacob Lindgren. 

Fast forward nearly five years, and the 2015 Rock-a-Chaws appeared to also have an easy path to a state title.

In the seventh inning, St. Stanislaus pitcher Jonathon Artigues quickly discarded of the first two Houston Hilltoppers in a 5-1 game. He was then one strike away from a complete game. But a hit batter, walk and a two-run double by Garrison Howell gave Houston life. 

The next batter was Reid Carter, who was tasked with two things: Keeping the game alive, and doing so against Ole Miss commit Greer Holston.

Baseball is a game of inches and must be played by doing the little things correctly. For example, Artigues' attempted sacrifice bunt turned base hit in the third inning simultaneously moved Holston to third base.

The next batter was senior second baseman Noah Nicaud, who lifted a sacrifice fly to right field to score the first run of the game.

In that exciting seventh inning, if right fielder Adam Guillot's throw from deep right after Carter's hit wasn't perfect, the tying man probably would've been 90 feet away. 

If Nicaud's ensuing relay throw is delivered anywhere else, the baseball probably hits the runner in the back. Instead, Carter slid right into Patrick McRaney's tag and St. Stanislaus earned the right to build another "Rock pile" after their hearts nearly sunk like rocks to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. 

"It's definitely the best feeling in my life," said Nicaud, who is a Pearl River Community College signee. "The best 10 seconds were that dog pile. That's got to be the best thing ever."

Artigues pitched a stellar game despite the late stumble. The future Tulane Green Wave pitched 6 2/3 innings, surrendering three runs on just three hits.

Like they have been doing all season, the defense has stepped up at the times that matter most.

"It means the world," Artigues said. "It's everything we worked for. To do it with my best friends, it's amazing."

St. Stanislaus only had three hits Friday night. But for the most part, they did those little things. Houston (28-11) did not. Walks, errors and hit batters pushed many runners across the plate for the Rock-a-Chaws en route to a second state championship in this decade.

"For the longest time you never think you're going to make it," St. Stanislaus head coach Mark Logan said. "We talked before the game that there's a lot of good coaches and players that never make it to this point. We've been lucky to do it twice and have been lucky enough to win both times."

With the sweep of Houston in the 4A state championship, St. Stanislaus (29-5) finished the playoffs sweeping three of their postseason opponents (Forrest Co. AHS, Richland).

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