The 2022 season ended Saturday in Bossier Parish.
For the Parkway Panthers, it hardly could’ve ended in more heartbreaking fashion.
The Panthers gave it everything they had for six hours against one of the state’s top programs only to come up just short.
After defeating No. 5 Zachary 6-5 in Game 1 of their best-of-3 Class 5A second-round series, Parkway needed one win to advance to the quarterfinals.
The first game went into extra innings tied at 1. Parkway, the designated home team, loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the eighth.
But the Broncos turned a double play. With new life, they scored three runs in the top of the ninth and won 4-1, forcing a decisive Game 3.
Shrugging off the Game 2 loss, Parkway led 3-1 going into the bottom of the seventh.
But the Broncos rallied for three runs, the last two on a two-out single, and a 4-3 victory.
The Panthers closed the season 23-14 in Jay Shamblyn “Sham” Gabehart’s first season as head coach which included a share of the District 1-5A championship.
Zachary improved to 25-13.
Meanwhile, the No. 6 seed Haughton Bucs’ season came to a close with a 6-2 loss to No. 11 Central-Baton Rouge in Game 2 at Haughton. The Wildcats won Game 1 Friday by the same score.
Haughton, which shared the District 1-5A title with Parkway and Benton, finished 27-8. Central improved to 28-7.
At Zachary, Parkway got an outstanding performance from Sean Waits in Saturday’s first game. He allowed three hits, struck out three and walked four in six innings.
Zachary’s lone run in regulation came on a one-out home run by Todd Goudeau in the top of the fifth that tied the game at 1.
The Panthers’ run came in the bottom of the second. Zachary Clute singled with two outs and scored on Abel Thetford’s double.
Zachary starter Braden Clark allowed just four hits in 7 1/3 innings.
Parkway started fast in the decider, scoring two runs in the top of the first.
Tanner Kirkland led off with a single and advanced to third on a double by Trenton Lape.
Cameron Fink singled home Kirkland. Ashton Martin’s sacrifice fly scored Lape.
The Broncos cut the lead to one in the bottom of the second on a two-out RBI single. They loaded the bases on a single and walk, but Clute ended the threat with a strikeout.
Zachary had a scoring opportunity in the fifth after drawing two walks with one out. But Parkway catcher Zach Schoenborn threw out two Broncos on steal attempts.
Zachary pitcher Lane Felder didn’t allow a baserunner in the second through sixth inning.
Fink broke the drought with a double to lead off the seventh. Carter Wells, running for Fink, advanced to third on a groundout and scored on Shawn Driggers’ sacrifice fly, putting the Panthers on top 3-1.
Felder pitched a four-hitter with five strikeouts and no walks. The Broncos had eight hits and drew seven walks.
At Haughton, Central, the designated home team, took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third. The Wildcats added four in the fifth.
The Bucs cut the lead to four with two runs in the sixth.
Colin Rains led off with a double and scored on Chan Lytle’s single.
Parker Lowrie’s two-out single made it 6-2.
Haughton threatened again in the seventh. Nick Hensley and Jackson Voigt had back-to-back singles. But the Wildcats turned a double play and a groundout ended the game.
The Bucs had an opportunity in the second inning after Lowrie and Caleb Brown had back-to-back singles with two outs. But a strikeout ended it.
Haughton had eight hits off Central’s Jimmie Johnson. But he struck out 11 and walked only one.
Lowrie went 2-for-3. Lytle went 2-for-4.