Baseball: Benton completes sweep, advances to quarterfinals

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The Benton Tigers completed a two-game sweep of the Lakeshore Titans in the second round of the Class 4A playoffs with a 3-0 victory Saturday at Benton.

Benton, the No. 4 seed, advanced to the quarterfinals for the third straight season. Lakeshore, the No. 13 seed, closed its season at 16-13.

The Tigers (28-9) will host No. 5 Teurlings Catholic (24-9) in a best-of-three series beginning Friday at Benton. Games 2 and 3 (if necessary) will be Saturday. The winner faces the winner of a series between No. 1 Tioga and No. 8 West Ouachita in the 4A semifinals at the state tournament in Sulphur May 14-16.

Teurlings Catholic swept No. 12 Belle Chasse 5-0 and 4-3 (11 innings) in the second round.

This is the first year best-of-3 series have been used in the second round and quarterfinals. Teurlings Catholic defeated Benton 8-6 in the 2013 quarterfinals. Last year, the Tigers fell to St. Michael the Archangel 11-0.

Benton cruised to victory over Lakeshore 12-3 in Game 1 Friday. Game 2 turned into a pitchers’ duel.

Benton ace Aaron Sheppard pitched a three-hitter, walking only one. Lakeshore’s Kenny Letort also allowed only three hits, but he walked five and the Tigers took advantage.

Benton scored two runs in the top of the second.

Branson Woodward led off with a single to right field. He advanced to second when Tyler Stephens walked. Woodard reached third when Stephens was forced out at second on Josh Scherer’s grounder.

Sheppard walked with two outs, loading the bases. Woodward scored on a error by the Titans’ second baseman. Tanner Craft then walked, scoring Scherer.

Benton added a run in the sixth. Stephens led off with a walk, stole second and scored on Taylor Ward’s single to center field.

Lakeshore got two of its three hits in the seventh. But with runners at first and second, Sheppard got a strikeout to end the game.

— Russell Hedges, rhedges@bossierpress.com