The Benton Tigers completed a two-game sweep of the Belle Chasse Cardinals in the second round of the Class 4A baseball playoffs with an epic 9-8 victory in 15 innings Saturday in Belle Chasse.
The No. 9 seed Tigers (25-12) will visit No. 1 Breaux Bridge (30-3), which swept North DeSoto 5-1 and 5-4 (eight innings), in the quarterfinals next week. Eighth-seed Belle Chasse, which lost to Benton in the second round for the second straight year, closed its season 24-11.
Benton, which won game one 7-3 Friday, will be making its sixth straight appearance in the quarterfinals.
Saturday’s game two lasted about 4.5 hours and saw the Tigers rally four times to keep the game alive.
Garrett Hable’s two-out double scored Norris with the winning run.
The Tigers loaded the bases in the bottom of the 15th on an error, a Cody Norris single and walk. But a double play (line out to first, throw to third) left runners at first and second. Hable then smacked a two-strike, one-ball pitch into center field.
Benton, the designated home team in game two, rallied in the seventh, eighth, ninth and 11th.
The Tigers were just two outs from victory in the top of the seventh, but the Cardinals rallied with three runs for a 3-2 lead.
Clint Lasiter singled with one out in the bottom of the inning and advanced to second on Norris’ two-out single. Cole Horton walked to load the bases. Peyton Long then walked, scoring Lasiter.
Belle Chasse scored a run in the eighth to go up 4-3.
Benton leadoff hitter Brennan Blaylock reached on an error and advanced to second on JT Brice’s sacrifice bunt. He scored on Lasiter’s two-out double to left field.
The Cardinals put three on the board in the ninth. Again, the Tigers rallied.
Norris led off with a double and reached third on Cole Horton’s single. He scored on a balk to make it 7-5. Long walked to put runners at first and second. Courtesy runner Tanner Timms and Long both moved up a base on a wild pitch.
Blaylock, who put on a master class in clutch hitting, scored both with a line-drive single to right field to tie it at 7.
Belle Chasse went ahead 8-7 in the top of the 11th on a bases-loaded walk.
Hable doubled with one out in the bottom of the inning. Blaylock came up with another clutch hit, doubling to center field to score Hable.
Benton got a runner to second in the 13th with one out but couldn’t adavance him. Belle Chasse didn’t mount a serious threat in the 12th, 13th, 14th or 15th.
Benton had five hits after seven innings and finished with 15. Norris, Horton, Blaylock and Lasiter all had three hits. Blaylock finished with four RBI. Hable had the two doubles.
Benton starter Andrew McPherson allowed just two hits in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out eight and walked two. Keegan Rogers, who allowed just one hit and walked none in the final 4 1/3 innings, got the win.
Timms scored Benton’s first run in the fourth on a wild pitch. The Tigers took advantage of two walks and a hit-by-pitch. Benton added a big run in the sixth on Blaylock’s two-out double to right field.
The Benton Tigers rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to defeat the Belle Chasse Cardinals 7-3 in game one of their best-of-3 second-round series Friday in Belle Chasse.
Benton got an outstanding performance from starting pitcher Kade Bailey. He allowed two hits and no earned runs in 6 1/3 innings with five strikeouts and two walks.
Cameron Ross came in and got the final two outs of the game.
Cade Scott went 2-for-4 with three RBI. Peyton Long had two hits and an RBI. Garret Hable had an RBI-double. Clint Lasiter also had a double. Cole Horton had two RBI.
Belle Chasse scored the first two runs of the game in the second inning without benefit of a hit.
The Tigers had two errors in the inning and a hit-by-pitch.
The Cardinals had their own fielding issues in Benton’s three-run third. Two errors and a walk loaded the bases with no outs.
Scott came through with a single, scoring Sam Simmons and JT Brice. Horton’s groundout with one out scored Lasiter.
Belle Chasse tied it in the fifth thanks to a double and wild pitch followed by an error.
Benton went ahead to stay with a run in the sixth thanks to a Long single, error and Hable’s double with one out.
The Tigers blew the game open in the seventh, scoring three runs on three hits, an error and fielder’s choice.
Brice led off the inning with a single and Lasiter followed with a double. Brice scored on an error on a Scott grounder.
Lasiter reached home on Horton’s groundout to first. Long’s two-out single brought home Norris.
Benton ended the game with a double play.
NOTE: The above report is based on Benton’s official GameChanger account.
— Russell Hedges, firstname.lastname@example.org