DUTCHTOWN — Nearly a year later, Dutchtown baseball coach Chris Schexnaydre said watching Denham Springs celebrate a Class 5A regional victory on the Griffins’ home field left an indelible image.
“Denham Springs came here, and I can still see them dogpiling on our field,” Schexnaydre said. “We’ve got some kids that played for us last year that can still remember the feeling. We want to be there.”
Ninth-seeded Dutchtown successfully negotiated the first step in its bid for a fourth trip in five years to the Class 5A state tournament with a hard-fought 4-0 bidistrict victory Tuesday over No. 24 Live Oak at Griffin Park.
The Griffins (26-9) rode the masterful right arm of senior Jacob Waguespack to their 17th win in their last 18 games, including 11 consecutive victories. They travel to New Orleans and face eighth-seeded Brother Martin, an 11-8 winner over No. 25 Comeaux, with the time and day of the regional still be determined.
Live Oak (20-13) entered the postseason having lost seven of its last 10 games and finishing District 4-5A play in fourth place.
That mattered little to right-handed pitcher Robert Papscy, who matched Waguespack with a no-hitter through three innings before running into trouble in the fourth.
Papscy threw 68 of 112 pitches for strikes and allowed all three hits in the third and fourth innings. He walked four and struck out five.
“I thought Robert competed on the mound as well as he has all year, and he gave us a chance to win,” Live Oak coach Greg Briggs said. “Obviously the outcome’s not what we wanted, but I thought we competed well. We talked about being 0-0, and there’s 32 teams and we were one of them. I thought we competed well. That’s what I was proud of.”
Dutchtown finally broke through against Papcsy when Troy Lewis led off the inning with a single to right — the Griffins’ first hit of the game. Lewis, a Coastal Carolina signee, reached third on a wild pitch and a sacrifice bunt by Robbie Podorsky and scored on Mason Nickens’ fielder’s choice.
Nickens bounced a grounder to the right side of Live Oak first baseman Cody Gerald, but Nickens beat Gerald’s throw to the plate for the game’s first run. Designated hitter Alex Thibodeaux (1-for-3), following a walk to Cole Stapler, made it 3-0 with a two-run double to the left-center gap that scored Nickens and Stapler, who were moving on the play.
Dutchtown added a run in the fifth when Grant McCrory scored on Stapler’s bases-loaded walk.
Waguespack (7-2) carried a perfect game into the fifth when Live Oak threatened in both the fifth and sixth innings.
The Eagles loaded the bases after two outs on a walk and consecutive singles from Gerald and Preston Guillory but Waguespack fanned ninth-place hitter Will Templet on three straight pitches.
Sam Wilson drew a lead-off walk in the sixth, and Papcsy beat out an infield single. Both runners moved up on a sacrifice bunt only to have Waguespack, an Ole Miss signee, get Rustin Rosevear to pop up to Podorsky at shortstop and follow with a strikeout of Lenni Kunert.
Waguespack, who threw 52 of 83 pitches for strikes, yielded three hits, walked two and struck out five over six innings. Lewis moved from third base and struck out the side in the seventh to secure Dutchtown’s eight shutout of the season.
“It was a great first round matchup,” Schexnaydre said. “Anytime you get can get a win in the playoffs you get excited about it, and we’re anxious to move on. At the beginning of the season, our number one goal was to get to the state tournament, and we’ve got it right in front of us.
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