GEISMAR -- Low-intensity summer baseball ending in a tie. Not much to see here, right?
Well, Denham Springs High and Dutchtown bucked that stereotype a bit Tuesday night.
The Yellow Jackets and Griffins played to a 3-3 standoff in Metro League action, but that was a smaller subplot to how things played out.
DSHS and Dutchtown played like two teams with postseason aspirations meeting in March, April or even later with effective execution, gritty pitching and timely hitting there for both teams.
Mixed in late in the game was some high-level intensity that gave the night a postseason feel instead of a laid-back summer vibe.
With the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the 6th and final inning, Jackets’ coach Mark Carroll summoned star Cade Doughty to the mound to preserve the tie.
Doughty struck out Zach Braud for the second out but fell behind Peyton Landry 3-and-0. As the Dutchtown dugout rumbled with chirping aimed at Denham’s star, he fired three strikes in a row – the last prompting an emotional fist pump when Landry swung and missed.
“We definitely games like this to grow a bond,” said Doughty, one of only a handful of starters expected to return for DSHS next season. “Summer ball usually isn’t real intense, but games like this one help us mold our attitude a little bit.”
And there was plenty of attitude from both sides in this one.
Denham and Dutchtown meet at least once during the regular season, and as two of the top Class 5A programs in South Louisiana, there is often plenty of intensity blended with healthy admiration.
“Our guys are going to come out and compete, even in a summer game when it might not seem like there’s a lot on the line,” Carroll said.
“We have a ton of respect for Dutchtown, their players and their coaches because that’s one of the best programs in the state. No matter if it’s February or in the playoffs or in June, we know we have to be ready when we play them and we expect good competitive games. Sometimes it gets a little chippy, and I’m fine with that as long as it stays in the right place, and it did.”
Doughty was also fine with the notion of having the ball in his hand in that situation.
And why not?
Before the LSU commit climbed the mound with the game on the line, Doughty had already produced three hits in three at-bats, the middle one chasing in a pair of runs with two outs in the 2nd inning to give Denham a 3-1 lead.
A few Dutchtown players sniped at Doughty earlier in the game, one drawing a rebuke from one the home-plate umpire. So when Carroll jabbed a finger in Doughty’s direction in the high-leverage 6th, he was ready.
“Yes, I definitely wanted the ball there,” Doughty said with a smile.
As Carroll went over the situation with Doughty once the change was made, his star interrupted.
“I was trying to go over the different scenarios and he looked me and said ‘Don’t worry about it. Coach, they aren’t getting on base. I’m going to strike the next two guys out,’ ” Carroll said. “They were trying to get in his head a little, which a lot of teams are going to try to do because of what he’s accomplished and all the attention he’s gotten. In this case, though, I think it ignited him a little and turned his engine up.”
The Jackets’ came out with their bats clicking early with three hits in each of the first two innings on the way to 3-1 lead.
Joshua Preston knocked home the first run in the 1st inning with a bases-loaded single, but Griffins’ starting pitcher Frank Miller averted more damage when he retired Caleb Passman and Cole Montgomery to strand three DSHS runners.
DSHS kept plugging away in the 2nd inning when Matt Delaney yanked a leadoff single to right field and Nick Moreau beat out a bunt for a single. Miller got two outs but walked Preston to load the bases to set up Doughty’s clutch hit.
“We had some good swings early on and got some work done,” Carroll said. “Later on we had what we call summer-ball swings and made some mistakes in situations and that could’ve bit us.”
On the mound, Dawson Albin logged the first 2 innings and allowed one run. He worked around Dalton Barbier’s RBI triple by retiring the next two Dutchtown batters and then got the Griffins 1-2-3 in the 2nd.
Tyler Evans also notched a scoreless frame in the 5th, aided by catcher Brennan LeBlanc throwing out a runner trying to steal.
The Jackets return to action at 7:30 p.m. Thursday when East Ascension comes to North Park.
DSHS 3, DUTCHTOWN 3
DSHS 120 000 -- 3 8 1
Dutchtown 102 000 -- 3 3 0
Dawson Albin, Jase McDonald (3), Cole Montgomery (3), Tyler Evans (5), Hunter Bond (6), Cade Doughty (6) and Matt Delaney, Brennan LeBlanc (5); Frank Miller, Will Reed (3), Dalton Barbier (5) and Beau Blunchi, Grey Dyason (4). 2B: Dutchtown -- Thomas Elliott 3B: Dutchtown -- Barbier. Up next: East Ascension at DSHS, 7:30 p.m. Thursday.