Before Delgado Community College had even taken the field in Sunday’s series finale against Baton Rouge Community College, the Dolphins were already short a coach and a right fielder.
Delgado skipper Joe Scheuermann was ejected by home plate umpire Shane Lopez just three batters into the game for arguing a pickoff attempt, and starting right fielder Brady Williamson was thrown out of the game in the middle of the first inning, adding tension to an already significant contest.
But even against a short-handed Delgado squad, BRCC couldn’t come away with a win, dropping the third game of the weekend to the Dolphins 5-3 at Pete Goldsby Field. The Bears (25-25, 7-4) lost both games of Saturday’s doubleheader to Delgado (40-8, 7-2), putting the Dolphins in the driver’s seat in the Miss-Lou Conference.
“It was a tough loss for us, no doubt,” BRCC coach L.J. Dupuy said. “The situation with the umpires, I wouldn’t say they did a bad job. It created a great atmosphere out here. You could tell in both dugouts. Everybody was excited about playing. It was a big game and heck, I’d like to see more of them like that.”
The first-inning incident was one of several episodes with the umpires throughout the game, as both teams — and fan bases — argued calls throughout the afternoon. A small group of fans were even asked to leave the ballpark in the middle of the game.
Neither coach verbalized complaints about the officiating Sunday, but Delgado assistant coach Michael Tullier said the Dolphins had to stay focused on the game despite the chaos in the crowd, which Dupuy described as “a World Series atmosphere.”
“We had to overcome a lot of adversity,” Tullier said. “Coach Joe getting thrown out kind of took a little wind out of our sails, but I just told the kids we need to play with some poise, and we need to relax and play our game. We tried to play relaxed so that we can execute. We did a nice job and fortunately came away with a win today.”
Once things settled down, Delgado continued its winning ways early, opening the scoring in the second inning on an RBI single from Tony Fortier-Bensen. The Dolphins added to its lead in the third, beginning with an RBI triple down the line in right from Austin Barrois III, who replaced Williamson in right field.
An infield grounder by Bubby Riley brought Barrois home. Two batters later, Cameron Hoffman crushed the first pitch of his at-bat well over the wall in center — marked at 412 feet — to end the day for BRCC starter Kelby Blalock.
“We were hoping that Kelby could come in and give us about five innings and keep the score down,” Dupuy said. “I felt like we would score more runs than we actually did against their pitching staff. When you’re down four runs, you’ve got to battle to catch up. You’ve got to move the base runners when you get the opportunity, and we didn’t do that.”
BRCC matched Delgado hit-for-hit, each side getting 10, but the Bears stranded 13 runners.
BRCC responded with a run in the bottom of the third as Adam Michel drove in Bond Babin with an RBI single up the middle. The Bears added two more in the fourth with a two-out rally but were kept in check the final five innings.
“It was a tremendous win,” Tullier said. “We knew it was going to be a hard-fought game coming in. We just had a feeling it was going to come down to the wire. (BRCC) always play us tough.”
Delgado has sole possession of first place in the conference, with BRCC second. The Bears have one makeup game with Meridian left, and Delgado has a three-game weekend series with the Eagles to decide the conference champion.