ZACHARY — The Louisiana High School Athletic Association initially banned Zachary’s baseball team from the Class 5A playoffs for its role in a fight during a regular-season tournament game against Teurlings Catholic.
Then the LHSAA’s executive committee declared the Broncos eligible for the postseason just four days before their first-round game. Now second-seeded Zachary is officially out after a tense 2-1 loss Saturday to Hahnville in a regional-round game at Zachary Youth Park.
The Broncos (27-8) fell victim to Mike Ford’s solo homer in the top of the second inning, Cody Farrell’s RBI double in the third inning and a combined four-hitter by starter Jake Cologne and reliever Tyler Lamers.
“We’ve been through so much,” acting Zachary coach Greg Williams said. “It’s been an emotional roller coaster. We knew what to expect. We’re all playing for the same thing. We just didn’t play our game.”
The game had a definite postseason feel, which included a standing-room-only crowd with fans two and three deep against the fence along the left- and right-field lines.
But it was the 15th-seeded Tigers (24-12) who made themselves at home, winning for the 18th straight time since a one-run loss to Jesuit on March 18 and advancing to the 5A state tourney Friday and Saturday at Tulane’s Turchin Stadium.
“Today was just our day,” said Hahnville coach Kade Rogers, who is leaving at the end of the season to become the coordinator of safety, security and emergency preparedness for St. Charles Parish schools.
“I’m happy for our kids. They’re so relaxed and have worked so hard. They came in here and didn’t back down. We’re playing with a lot of confidence right now, and we know we have some unfinished business to take care of. I’m proud of the way we responded.”
The Tigers got all the runs they needed in the second and third innings. Ford led off the second with a solo homer to left field, a line drive off Zachary starter Gabe Von Rosenberg (8-2) that went just inside the foul pole.
Ford continued his postseason hot streak. He had three doubles and four RBIs in Hahnville’s 10-7 first-round victory Tuesday over Covington.
“I knew when I hit it that it was going over the fence,” he said. “I just wasn’t sure if it would be fair or foul. I wanted to put the ball in play. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy coming in here, but I couldn’t be more happy.”
In the top of the third, Travis Faucheaux reached on a fielder’s choice with one out. After Tyler Simmons struck out, Farrell doubled to center field to score Faucheaux for a 2-0 lead.
Cologne retired the Broncos in order in the first and second innings. They broke through in the third on Jameson Fisher’s deep sacrifice fly to center field, which scored Daniel Hodges, who led off with a walk. Zachary never threatened the rest of the way.
“Jake came in and fought like hell,” Ford said. “We needed four or five innings from him, and he gave us the chance to win.”
Cologne (7-2)allowed three hits, struck out three and walked three in five innings.
He also benefited from some sterling defense, including a fantastic play by Dylan Keller in the fifth inning. Keller made the catch, ran into the right-field wall and held onto the ball for the second out, robbing Johnny Mangin of an extra-base hit.
Lamers gave up one hit, struck out one and walked none in two innings. His effort overshadowed Zachary’s three pitchers.
Von Rosenberg allowed five hits, struck out six and walked one in five innings.
, and Trent Crowder and Hernandez combined on two innings of no-hit relief.