The Airline Vikings and Haughton Buccaneers won District 1-5A games Thursday.
The Vikings defeated Evangel Christian 4-3 at Airline, and the Bucs downed Southwood 12-7 at Southwood. Both were series openers. In the final games at 1 p.m. Saturday, Airline visits Evangel and Haughton hosts Southwood.
In the other 1-5A series opener Thursday, Byrd edged Captain Shreve 6-5.
Elsewhere, Bossier downed Fair Park 13-3 in District 1-4A contest at Rusheon.
District leader Airline improved to 22-4 overall and 8-1 in 1-5A. Byrd (17-9, 8-3) is in second and will complete district play against Captain Shreve on Saturday. Haughton (16-10, 5-4) and Captain Shreve (15-13, 5-4) are tied for third. Evangel (9-17, 4-5) is fifth.
Both Airline and Haughton had to rally for the victories.
At Airline, the Vikings trailed Evangel Christian 2-0 going into the bottom of the third. They scored three to take the lead, but the Eagles added one in the top of the fourth. Airline answered with what would prove to be the winning run in the bottom of the inning.
Airline’s Cameron Parikh went 2-for-3. He had a big one-out double in the fourth and scored the go-ahead run.
Parikh, Hayden Waxley and Jonathan Brandon had consecutive singles to start Airline’s three-run third.
Jarrett Bamburg’s bunt single scored Parikh. Waxley scored when Austin Zickefoose was hit by a pitch. Brandon scored the final run on Josh James’ grounder to shortstop.
Airline starter Kyle Backofen struck out 12 in six innings and improved to 6-2. He sat down the Eagles in order in the fifth and sixth.
Waxley pitched the final inning to get the save. After walking the first batter, Waxley got a strikeout, fielder’s choice and popup to end the game.
At Southwood, the Cowboys scored four in the bottom of the third in to take a 4-0 lead. But Haughton answered with seven in the fourth and four more in the fifth.
Tyler Davis, who went 2-for-4, led off the fourth with a triple. Andrew Sewell followed with a single and Reid Wilson doubled to get the Bucs on the board.
Jeremiah Wilson walked with one out to load the bases and Sewell scored when Sam Herren was hit by a pitch. Colby Holmes walked, scoring another run and making it 4-3.
Kirkland Seals doubled with two outs, scoring courtesy runner Ryan Jeffrey and Jeremiah Wilson. Davis came back up to bat and doubled, scoring Seals and Holmes.
The Bucs scored all four runs in the fourth with two outs.
Two walks and a Herren bunt loaded the bases. Triston Carmack’s double to center field cleared the bases and made it 10-5. Carmack scored the final run of the inning on an error.
Haughton starter Nick Heckman allowed four hits and just one earned run in four innings. He struck out six. Austin Clemmens pitched the final three innings, allowing three hits and striking out five.
Benton (12-11, 4-0) starts a two-game District 1-4A series Friday at Northwood. The Tigers host the Falcons at noon Saturday.
At Rusheon, Jon-Mikal Robertson went 2-for-4 to lead Bossier (9-12, 2-4). Donovan Williams got the win. Chase Bounds, Brent Wroblewski, Kevin McCuthen, Kaleb Ortega, Preston Allen and Williams had one hit apiece.
NOTE: The above report is based on box scores and play-by-plays on teams’ official GameChanger accounts and information received from ooaches.
— Russell Hedges, firstname.lastname@example.org