West rallies after slow start

DENHAM SPRINGS — The lack of pressure in all-star games can sometimes produce lackluster intensity, but the West squad might have been guilty of pressuring itself too much in the second game of the Louisiana High School Coaches Association/Louisiana Baseball Coaches Association All-Star weekend.

The West squad committed seven errors through four innings, but settled down to erase a four-run deficit and rally past the East 13-7 at Denham Springs’ North Park recreational complex.

“I think the kids were trying a little too hard early on,” said West coach Scott McCullough of Acadiana High. “It’s a fun game to play, but they really wanted to win one after yesterday (a 4-2 East win in game one).”

Runnels’ Aldec Cartwright of the East, and Archbishop Shaw’s Jonathan France of the West were named most valuable player for their respective squads.

E.D. White’s Scott Szush, the third of four West pitchers, notched the win as the East team was limited to one run over the final five innings after taking a 6-2 lead in the top of the fourth.

Hornbeck’s Matthew Alford, Livonia’s Brandon Armand and Sam Houston’s Kameron Esthay spearheaded a 13-hit attack for the West with two hits apiece.

After the fourth, the West played error-free while the East committed all of its game-total of four.

“I knew we’d start hitting the ball,” McCullough said. “This is an outstanding, talented all-star team. I’ve coached several all-star teams, and this team has some great athletes.”

Eight East batters collected hits inlcuding Catholic High’s Jordan Romero, who was 2-for-2 with a double and an RBI. The East also used four pitchers, and its third, Will McCullough of Franlinton, took the loss.

Will McCullough gave up six hits and seven runs in two innings. His totals were hurt by two fielding miscues with only three of the runs charged to him being earned.

“We struggled on the mound,” said East coach Bob Lemons of East Ascension. “When my second arm struggled (Sterlington’s Casey Sutton), we really didn’t get McCullough down there (to the bullpen) in time. He didn’t have enough time to really get loose, but he still competed.”

The West tied the score 6-6 with a pair of runs in the fifth off of Sutton. With runners at first and second, Alford’s infield single to third was thrown away leaving runners at the corners with a run in.

Payton Attaway’s RBI fielder’s choice plated the tying run.

The West scored twice more in the sixth taking the lead for good on Esthay’s RBI double. Esthay scored later in the inning when Iowa’s Gabe Roberts drew a bases-loaded walk.

DeRidder’s Joe Baldwin and Terrebonne’s Justin Williams led off the West sixth with hits to start a five-run inning that put the game out of reach.

Esthay and Comeaux’ Phillip Williams had RBI singles to go with RBI grounders from North Desoto’s Austin Pinnick and Haden Hernandez of St. Louis.

The East took advantage of three first inning errors to score a pair of unearned runs. Two more errors helped it score four in the top of the fourth.

Destrehan’s Tanner Hayes and East St. John’s Bruce Winn had singles helping the East loaded the bases with no outs to start the fourth. Sacrifice fly outs from Cartwright and Lutcher’s Zachary Zimmer highlighted the scoring.

The East added another run in the seventh on Romero’s two-out RBI single.

Loreauville’s Even Hebert, who struck out the side in the eighth, plunked Forest’s Houston Matthews before retiring East Ascension’s Devin Speligene on a grounder to short to end the game.