Zachary advances past Hahnville, 7-4

BOUTTE — Stephen Babin celebrated from second base Monday, yelling and raising his arms after his line drive down the right-field line scored a pivotal run of 10th-seeded Zachary’s 7-4 Class 5A regional baseball win over seventh-seeded Hahnville.

Babin got a chance to celebrate with his teammates after the next at-bat. Andre Weber’s popup to right field was mishandled in the sun’s glare, allowing Babin to score from third, part of a three-run fifth inning..

It proved to be enough for the Broncos (25-11) to advance to the 5A quarterfinals. Zachary will play No. 18 seed St. Amant, a 6-2 upset winner over Destrehan, on Friday at Tulane University.

“(Hahnville pitcher Tyler Lamers) threw it to the outside corner,” Babin said. “I just threw my hands at it, and I hit it the opposite way. They were getting the momentum back, and we started declining with our energy. That was just a big momentum changer.”

Gabe Hannum followed Babin and Weber’s at-bats in the fifth with an RBI of his own, a shot to right which gave Zachary a five-run lead. And unlike Hahnville’s come-from-behind, 4-2 bi-district victory Thursday against Byrd, the Tigers didn’t rally.

Hahnville (27-8) stranded two runners in the fourth with one out and two in the fifth, forcing the Tigers to settle for Lamers’ sacrifice fly in the inning. In the sixth, Tyler Simmons’ two-out single drove in a run with the bases loaded, but right-hander Evan Tidwell forced Todd Porche to ground out.

In the seventh, with runners on second and third, the game ended as Easton Melancon, Hahnville’s hero of last week’s playoff victory, grounded into a double play.

“We really needed someone to come up and drive one,” Hahnville coach David Baudry said. “They battled every minute of every pitch, but it just didn’t work out today.”

Porche’s sacrifice grounder in the first inning drove in the Tigers’ first run. Hahnville led 2-0 in the second after Melancon’s RBI single to right field.

Zachary rallied to score two runs in the third. Evan Price singled and was replaced on the bases by designated runner PJ Cannon. He moved to second as Micah McHugh walked and stole third, scoring on Daniel Hodges’ sacrifice bunt. With two outs, Simmons, Hahnville’s right-handed starter, was called for a balk, allowing McHugh to score from third.

Simmons was knocked out of the game after 31⁄3 innings when Ethan Troth hit a two-run double to left. Zachary led 4-2 and Simmons was replaced by Brooks Vial.

Vial, a senior, said his team failed to handle Zachary’s pressure.

“We had plays that we needed to make good plays, and we made routine plays,” said Vial, who will play college baseball next season at Delgado Community College. “In a playoff game in the second round, you can’t just make routine plays.”