DENHAM SPRINGS – Late in Tuesday’s game with Springfield, Denham Springs put on the type of display coach Mark Carroll has been waiting on this summer.
The Yellow Jackets erupted for 10 runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, sparking a 16-6 run-rule victory at North Park.
“We swung the bats a little bit better today and got the good fortune of some balls falling in,” Carroll said. “The baseball gods took care of us, and we didn’t give up the nine zillion freebies like we did (Monday) in our game (in a loss to Zachary). It’s amazing when you’re around the plate a little bit and make them swing and play a little bit of defense how the games can go in your favor.”
Meanwhile, Springfield is still figuring some things out this summer.
“We just threw a lot of balls in that last inning,” Springfield coach Chris Blanchard said after his team lost a four-run lead and walked four in Denham Springs’ big inning. “I always try to tell them strikes will lead to outs. Walks will lead to runs, and it caught up with us, but I was happy the way they competed the first (few) innings. I was proud of them.”
Springfield scratched for a run to tie the game at 6-6 in the top of the fifth inning, paving the way for Denham’s game-ending scoring barrage.
After three straight walks to load the bases, Cameron McPherson and Ethan Quebedeaux connected on consecutive two-run doubles, pushing the lead to 10-6.
With two outs, Lane Dudley had a bases-loaded double to center field, making the score 13-6. Kole Rothman reached on an error to push across another run, and after Carter Holstein was hit by a pitch, Jude Clarke and Bill Clement followed with run-scoring singles to cap the scoring.
“We’re getting there a little bit,” Carroll said. “We’ll keep working on it and giving a lot of these other guys some opportunities to get up on the mound and pitch show what they can or can’t do or will or won’t do. That’s part of the process of getting it ready for next year. A few guys at the plate and defensively seeing how they’re going to handle it … They’ve got to no-doubt-about-it handle any pressure I put on them because that’s going to be a drop in the bucket compared to when you’re playing a district game in this district …”
Springfield got rolling early as Will Taylor was hit by a pitch to open the game, and Bryce Vittorio walked. With two outs, Sladen Lyles reached on an error, scoring two runs.
Denham cut the lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the inning when Rothman reached on a two-out error and Clement and Clarke got consecutive singles. Patrick Landry then legged out a single, but Clement was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
Springfield padded its lead in the top of the third when Will Taylor got a one-out single and Vittorio reached on a throwing error, which allowed Taylor to score. After Logan Lobell walked, Blake Lobell followed with a two-run double for a 5-1 lead.
“We did a good job of swinging the bats early, doing little things correctly,” Blanchard said. “Blake Lobell with a good hit-and-run backside … we ended up scoring two because it was great execution, but (it was) other little things – just got some guys over, got them in when we did early, and that’s what gave us a lead. We just (need to) throw strikes to hold on to the lead, that’s the key.
“It’s summer,” Blanchard continued. “I want the kids to get some work, and I expect a lot out of the kids. Everybody today that played will play a pivotal role next year, so I’d rather them get that experience now in the summer than next year in the spring.”
Denham claimed the lead with a five-run third after Reese Smith doubled and moved to third on an error in the outfield. He scored when Dudley’s fly ball to short center field dropped between Springfield defenders.
“That happens in baseball,” Blanchard said of the play. “You’ve got to be able to shut those innings down, but Denham did a good job of coming back after we built a lead, and they competed just like we did. I didn’t expect anything less from a Coach Carroll team, but happy with the way we competed and we hung with them for a little bit. Hopefully, next time we see them we’ll clean up the back end of the game.”
Rothman’s triple and Clement’s grounder to third cut the lead to 5-4. Clarke doubled, Landry singled, and Denham tied the game and took a 6-5 lead on a pair of errors.
Springfield tied the game in the fifth when Taylor drew a one-out walk, stole second and scored on Logan Lobell’s single.
Dudley, Job Norgress and Carson Pittman pitched for Denham Springs.
Vittorio, Ethan Anthony and Blake Lobell pitched for Springfield.