ZACHARY – Zachary has some work to do in order to qualify for next week’s Class 5A state tournament.
The fourth-seeded Broncos rallied from a three-run deficit in the seventh inning to force extra innings, but eventually fell to fifth-seeded West Monroe 7-5 on Friday in the opening of the best-of-three quarterfinal series at John Herty Field.
The two teams meet at 3:00 p.m. Saturday with an ‘if necessary’ game scheduled at 7 p.m.
“I feel like we didn’t give them our best shot tonight,” Zachary coach Jacob Fisher said. “I just think we beat ourselves early in the game. We didn’t give ourselves an opportunity to get out ahead and keep our foot on the pedal. The errors really cost us.”
Zachary (28-9) committed three errors which put two eventual runs on base and allowed another two to score.
West Monroe (26-11) opened the game with two runs in the first inning after a single and error put two Rebels on with no outs. Tom Biggs’ two-run single brought both runners in for a 2-0 lead.
Zachary responded in the home half of the inning when a leadoff single and throwing error put Creed David in scoring position, who scred on a single by LSU signee Alex Milazzo.
Maverick McClure then followed Milazzo with a single but was picked off at first base. However, he was able to extend the rundown long enough to let Milazzo score from third base to tie the game at 2-2.
West Monroe added a pair of unearned runs in the fourth when a two-out fly ball to centerfield was dropped, allowing Gage Breithaupt and Carson Jones to score.
In the sixth the Rebels scored another run without the ball leaving the infield, putting runners on via an error, infield single, and a pair of walks to take a 5-2 lead.
Down to their final three outs, Zachary mounted a furious comeback after back-to-back walks set up Jayden Williams for an RBI-double to left center. David then tied the game at five with a softly hit single to shallow center, combined with a throwing error.
“This team has fought,” Fisher said. “We’ve been in an emotional battle against Live Oak where we went nine innings. They’re ready, we’ve been tested all season long. We’ll be ready, we’ll bounce back. This team continues to fight every single game until the last out. We showed it here. Most teams down by three against a powerhouse like West Monroe, they would fold. But these guys believe in each other.”
With no outs and the winning run in scoring position, the heart of the Zachary lineup couldn’t find the game-ending hit and had to settle for extra innings.
In the eighth the Broncos quickly recorded two outs, but a double followed by three walks and a hit by pitch brought in two runs for the Rebels.