SCOTT – It was apparent early that runs would be at a premium Saturday with Live Oak battling Acadiana High to advance in the Class 5A state baseball playoffs.
Live Oak coach Jesse Cassard sent ace Sal Palermo to the mound to force a third and deciding game in the best two-of-three series, and he came within a whisker of pulling it off.
But the Rams put together three hits in the fifth inning, scoring once and Seth Trahan made it stand up in a 1-0 victory.
“It’s one of those things,” Cassard said. “They got the hit when they needed it. It’s hard on the kids. I feel for our (7) seniors. But, that’s baseball. That’s life.”
Acadiana had grabbed an 8-2 victory in Friday’s opener and was able to dodge the letdown of a game three on a sunny day with wind blowing in from the south.
“That’s Sal’s first loss this year,” Cassard said. “He was outstanding. They didn’t get a hit until the fifth inning.”
Palermo (9-1) also went 3-for-3 at the plate and was part of a seventh-inning rally that nearly pulled out the season-extending triumph.
Catcher Kody Guidry laced a two-out single up the left-field line to breathe some life into the Eagles, and Palermo quickly followed with a hit to left.
But Trahan enticed Jake Burchfield to fly out to center fielder Ian Montz.
“Palermo is one of the best righthanders we’ve faced this season,” AHS coach Clay Courtier said. “We were impressed with their left-hander (Ethan Prescott), too. Palermo kept us off-balance early. We had to be patient.”
Garrett Felix opened the AHS fifth with a single to left but was erased when Montz reached on a fielder’s choice. Montz stole second and with two away, scored on a hit by Gavin Cox.
That would be all either team could muster.
Live Oak had its chances. A pair of Rams double plays halted opportunities in the first and fourth innings.
Palermo got his second hit with one out in the fifth, a perfect chance to regain momentum after Acadiana’s breakthrough. But Trahan got Burchfield to pop up to second and Dylan Williams flew out to right.
Then in the sixth, Trahan used just six pitches to set the Eagles down in order.
“It’s hard for them right now,” Cassard said. “It will take time to get over this, but we’ve got a lot of young guys on this team and we’ll be back. Hey, we're a good team, they’re a good team. These kinds of things can happen any time you take the field.”