DENHAM SPRINGS — There are times when it comes down to baseball fundamentals and/or the breakdown of those fundamentals to see which team wins. The East squad proved that while taking a 4-2 win over the West in the first game of the Louisiana High School Coaches Association/Louisiana Baseball Coaches Association All-Star weekend.
The East scored three runs without getting a hit in the bottom of the fifth inning and added another run in the seventh. An error allowed two of the runs to score.
“Now this was fun,” said East coach Bob Lemons of East Ascension. “It’s always good when you win, but you can tell these guys had fun. We all did.
“Our pitchers struggled a little at times, but they battled. And we scored when we got the chance.”
Each team had six hits and one error. The two conclude the series with a 12:15 p.m. Saturday game at A.B. Netterville Field at North Park.
“We walked a couple,” West coach Scott McCullough, of Acadiana, said. “We were right around the plate and couldn’t quite throw it over. They hit the ball, and we made a lot of good plays, so you can’t be frustrated with the one error we did make. You know, that’s part of baseball.”
Claiborne Christian’s Zach Osbon got the win, while Lafayette’s Jordan Rogers took the loss. No player had multiple hits in the game. But three players, the West’s Gabe Roberts (Iowa High) and the East’s Brett Courville (Central) and Zachary Zimmer (Lutcher) each had a double.
Each team got two hits and two stranded two runners in the first inning. Terrebonne Justin Williams and Sam Houston’s Kameron Ethay had singles off Dutchtown’s Cole Stapler for the West.
But Stapler got a strikeout to end the threat. The East’s Brennan Bozeman of Parkview Baptist and Jordan Romero of Catholic High had singles in the bottom of the first off Shaw’s Jonathan France.
Like Stapler, France ended the inning with a strikeout. The two starters each had three strikeouts through two innings.
The West got runners to second and third in the the third and fourth but could not capitalize. Lutcher’s Corey Merrill, who followed Stapler, worked out of both jams, getting a fly ball to end the third and a strikeout to end the fourth.
In the top of the fifth, the West broke through. Barbe’s Sloan Dieter was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Pinch-runner Will Trahan of Breaux Bridge took second on a passed ball and scored on a double by Roberts off the third East pitcher, Osbon.
Two walks loaded the bases before Roberts scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-0. But the East came right back and took the lead with their three runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Runnels’ Josh Morris led off with walk, took second on a groundout, stole third and scored when Osbon reached on an error. Devin Speligene, who also walked, scored on the error. Forest’s Houston Matthews scored on a groundout to give the East the lead.
The East added a run in the bottom of the seventh. Courville doubled to left-center field to open the inning, went to third on a passed ball and later scored on a wild pitch.
Runnels’ Alden Cartwright struck out five of the six batters he faced in the final two innings for the East.
“It was the best,” Cartright said afterwards. “And we all had fun.”