By DAVE WOODALL
Slidell sports writer
SLIDELL – If you missed the Salmen vs. Pope John Paul II baseball game last Thursday you missed a good one.
The Spartans made a valiant comeback attempt but last inning heroics by the Jaguars pulled it out with Salmen going down 7-5 in a non-district contest at Spartan field.
Tyler Blakeman started on the mound for the Jaguars and Bryce Nicaud got the nod for the Spartans.
After a scoreless first inning, things started to heat up as each team got on the scoreboard.
PJP’s Sean Price led off the second with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice by Jack Kelly.
With one out, Brock Guillot was hit by a pitch putting two Jags on base.
Anthony Chappetta stepped to the plate and delivered a booming two-RBI triple to plate Price and Guillot. Matt Castillo followed with an RBI single to plate Chappetta and give PJP a 3-0 lead.
Salmen got one run back in the bottom of the second when Joey Smith led off with a single and moved up on a sacrifice by Chase Kitchens.
Andre Beaudoin followed with an RBI single to make it 3-1 PJP after two complete.
Nicaud was in control for the next four innings shutting out PJP while allowing only one hit to Chappetta in that stretch.
Meanwhile, Salmen picked up a run in the third on a walk to Cole Jackson and an RBI single by Bradley Cruz narrowing the PJP lead to 3-2.
The Spartans tied it up in the fifth inning when, with two outs, Jackson walked and stole second. Cruz then drove him in with an RBI single to make it 3-3.
After a scoreless PJP sixth inning, the Spartans took the lead.
Kitchens led off with a single and James Benson came on as a pinch-runner.
Benson moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Beaudoin and then on to third on a Blakeman balk.
Mickeyren Bentley followed with a walk, moved to second and was picked off allowing Benson to score.
Jordan Rushing then walked, stole second and was driven in on a Nick Talamo RBI double to give the Spartans their first lead of the game at 5-3.
But the Jaguars saved their best for last scoring four runs in the seventh inning to cap a 7-5 comeback win for the Jaguars.
It started badly for the Spartans when Guillot led off with a strikeout but reached on a dropped third strike. Chappetta and Castillo followed with walks to load the bases.
Blakeman then connected with an RBI single to reload the bases.
A sacrifice fly by Travis Hoff plated Chappetta and Reese Satterlee reached on an error to plate Castillo.
Price then singled to drive in Blakeman for the fourth run of the inning to end the scoring.
Nicaud took the loss for the Spartans going the distance and gave up seven runs on six hits, three walks and three strikeouts.
Blakeman got the win going six innings while giving up five runs on five hits, six walks and four strikeouts. Price came on in relief in the seventh and gave up no runs on one hit and a strikeout.
Both teams stranded six baserunners.
“It was a huge win for me personally and a huge win for the team,” said Jaguar coach Zach Pohto. “It was the first time we have come back from a seventh-inning deficit since I have been coaching here. We have been playing against some tough competition early on in the season and I’m happy that these guys are starting to gel and are believing in each other.”