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High school baseball: Benton completes sweep of Natchitoches Central in first-round playoff series

The Benton Tigers rallied past Natchitoches Central 5-4 Saturday, completing a two-game sweep in the first round of the non-select Division I playoffs in Natchitoches.

Benton (21-15), the No. 20 seed, will travel to Lake Charles for a best-of-3 second-round series against No. 4 Sam Houston (27-4) next week. Sam Houston received a first-round bye.

Natchitoches Central finished 24-11.

Benton, which won Game 1 3-1 Thursday, was the designated home team in Game 2. 

Trailing 4-1, the Tigers scored two in the bottom of the fifth, one in the sixth and one in the seventh.

Bryson Pierce led off the bottom of the seventh with a walk and advanced to second on Cale Latimer’s groundout and third on a passed ball.

He scored the game-winner on Kenner Lauterbach’s sacrifice fly.

In the sixth, leadoff batter Cole Weir was hit by a pitch. He advanced to second on Griffin Sibley’s sacrifice bunt and scored the tying run on Hudson Brignac’s two-out single.

In the fifth, leadoff batter Brady Blaylock reached second on an error. With one out, Latimer smacked a home run.

Benton had seven hits. Latimer went 2-for-4 with the two RBI.

Sibley had a double in the fourth. Weir, who led off the inning with a walk, scored on a Josh Sanchez groundout.

Gavin Jacobs and Blaylock also had hits. 

Daniel Jayroe and Riley Bruton both turned in outstanding performances on the mound.

Jayroe entered the game with one out in the top of the first and the bases loaded. Jayroe proceeded to strike out the first two batters he faced.

He finished with seven strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings. He walked none.

Riley Bruton allowed just one hit and walked only one over the final three innings.

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