EMERSON, Ga. -- Denham Springs High went to the Perfect Game High School Showdown without a lot of fanfare compared to some of the bigger names in the deep and loaded tournament field.
The Yellow Jackets made sure folks knew who they were by the end of their opening day at the spectacular LakePoint Sporting Community complex in the Atlanta suburbs.
DSHS rallied for a 5-4 victory over the Winder-Barrow (Ga.) Bulldogs and then edged the IMG Academy (Fla.) Ascenders 1-0.
To notch a pair of memorable wins over teams ranked in the Top 35 of Perfect Game’s national rankings, Denham needed strong pitching, patience in the batter’s box, execution and a dash of clutch hitting.
The Jackets got all of the above.
After two big wins on the first day, the Yellow Jackets (9-5) split their final two games, falling to powerful Blessed trinity 11-1 before returning the favor with an 11-0 romp past First Presbyterian -- two private schools from the suburban Atlanta area.
DSHS 5, Winder-Barrow 4
Down 4-0 after 4 innings, things didn’t look promising for the Jackets against Bulldogs’ ace Skylar Murphy.
But waiting the pitcher out paid off.
Denham started chipping away in the 5th inning when Cole Montgomery drew a leadoff walk, Dillon Boyle smacked a single, Caleb Passman walked with one out to load the bases and Taylor Higgins wore a pitch to chase home a run.
The comeback gained steam in the 6th with one out when Brock Batty walked, Montgomery singled and Dillon Boyle walked to fill the bases. Dawson Albin stayed patient to score a run and Boyle sprinted home on a wild pitch to pull DSHS within 4-3.
The drama heightened in the 7th. Trent Moreau and Braden Doughty walked to begin the frame and chase Murphy. Sterling Sykes relieved and walked Batty to load the bases before throwing a wild pitch that sent Moreau scampering home to tie the game and allow the two other runners to move up.
Sykes struck out Montgomery for the first out before Boyle laid down a suicide squeeze bunt that Sykes fielded and scooped to the plate in one motion, but Doughty slid in under the tag on a bang-bang play to give the Jackets the 5-4 lead.
The Bulldogs (7-1) staged an immediate threat in the bottom of the 7th when Will Hardigree led off with a single. Cade Doughty took over for Batty on the mound and struck out Zack Smith. On the third strike, Hardigree wandered too far off first base and Braden Doughty threw behind him from the plate.
Hardigree headed toward second base, but Batty threw to Dawson Albin who fired back to first to notch the second out.
Cade Doughty secured the stunning comeback win when he coaxed a routine ground ball to third base off the bat of Casey Thurmond.
Batty notched his second win of the season, holding steady after allowing four runs in the first 3 innings – the last on Sam Darling’s two-out, 2-run triple.
After that Batty mowed down 10 of the next 13 Barrow batters, including the Bulldogs’ first three hitters after a single and error to start the 6th inning.
DSHS 5, WINDER-BARROW (Ga.) 4
DSHS 000 012 2 -- 5 4 2
Barrow 112 000 0 -- 4 7 0
Brock Batty, Cade Doughty (7) and Braden Doughty; Skylar Murphy, Sterling Sykes (7) and Beau Hanna. W – Batty (2-2). L – Murphy. Sv. – C. Doughty (2). 2B: Barrow – Casey Thurmond. 3B: Barrow – Sam Darling. Records: DSHS 7-4, Barrow 7-1.
DSHS 1, IMG 0
Higgins stole the show in the second game, holding the Ascenders (5-1) without a hit for 3.1 innings and only three in the game.
Denham didn’t fare much better against IMG pitcher Matt Mitchell and the game went to the bottom of the 6th inning in a scoreless standoff.
With one out in the Jackets’ 6th, Passman reached on an error by the IMG second baseman. Cam DeBate bunted him into scoring position and that ploy paid off when Cade Doughty whacked a clutch two-out RBI double to give Denham the lead.
Higgins got two quick ground-ball outs in the Ascenders’ 7th but gave up his third hit to Jake Scheid. Unfazed, Higgins struck out pinch-hitter Matt Lynch on a called third strike – the DSHS senior’s 10th K of the game.
DSHS 1, IMG ACADEMY (Fla.) 0
IMG 000 000 0 -- 0 3 1
DSHS 000 001 x -- 1 3 1
Matt Mitchell and Austin Bates; Taylor Higgins and Braden Doughty. W – Higgins. L – Mitchell. 2B: DSHS – Cade Doughty. Records: DSHS 8-4, IMG 5-1. Up next: DSHS vs. Blessed Trinity (Ga.), 5 p.m. Friday.
BLESSED TRINITY 11, DSHS 1
DSHS 100 00 -- 1 2 3
Blessed Trinity 614 0x -- 11 14 1
Kaleb Slayon and Braden Doughty; Cole McNamee and Mitchell Weidner. W -- McNamee. L -- Slayton. HR: Blessed Trinity -- Colin Davis. Records: DSHS 8-5, Blessed Trinity 12-2.
DSHS 11, FIRST PRESBYTERIAN 0
DSHS 416 00 -- 11 9 1
First Presbyterian 000 00 -- 0 2 3
Chris Courville, Cade Doughty (4) and Braden Doughty; Terry Hartley and Dalton Cox. W -- Courville. L -- Hartley. 2B: DSHS -- Dawson Albin. Records: DSHS 9-5, First Presbyterian 1-5. Up next: Atchafalaya Challenge -- DSHS at Lafayette, 4 p.m. Thursday