CENTRAL – Denham Springs got off to a quick start in District 4-5A with a pair of victories.
However, the Yellow Jackets’ recent slump continued Tuesday night at Central when their seventh-inning rally came up short in an 8-6 defeat.
Trailing 8-4, Denham Springs had the bases loaded with two outs in the seventh inning. Connor Cassels, the third Wildcats pitcher of the game, came in out of the bullpen and gave up a two-run single by Brennan Hall.
When Cassels hit Matt Delaney with a pitch, the Yellow Jackets had the tying runs in scoring position, but David Frye was called out on strikes to end the threat, sending Denham Springs to its third loss in the last four league games.
“We have some guys dinged up,” Yellow Jackets coach Mark Carroll said. “We didn’t make plays on some routine balls and we’ve got to make those plays. Then, we didn’t take advantage of some situations to score. But we competed and gave ourselves a chance to win at the end.”
A couple defensive misplays helped Central (14-13, 3-3) take an early 4-0 lead.
One inning later, Brant Chauvin reached on a single on a misjudged one-out fly ball. The Wildcats then got back-to-back home runs from Dalton Aspholm and Drew Lasseigne to take a four-run lead.
After Noah Juan hit a solo homer for Denham Springs (13-12, 3-3), Central went ahead 6-1 by scoring twice on just one hit in the fourth. Losing pitcher Josh Preston walked two batters and hit another in the inning.
A bases-loaded walk to Aspholm and a sacrifice fly by Lasseigne brought home the runs.
The Yellow Jackets got closer with three runs in the fifth – two coming on a homer by Cade Doughty, but the Wildcats answered with two two-out runs in their half of the inning.
With runners on second and third, Central’s Sam Kenerson drove in a run with an infield single. A second run scored on a throwing error on the play, two runs that turned out to be the difference in the game.
“The big inning for me was when we came back to put up two runs after they cut the lead to two,” Central coach Mike Forbes said. “Denham had all the momentum at that time. This win was big for us. It got us back on a winning track and we had been up and down in the district.”
DSHS had its chances to score more runs but stranded a runner in scoring position in five of the seven innings.
Trailing 6-4, Denham Springs had a threat come to an end in the fifth when Preston grounded out with two runners on base. Reese Smith struck out with runners on first and third and two out in the sixth and Frye struck out with the bases loaded to for the final out of the game.
Lasseigne, who was relieved by DJ Primeaux after Doughty’s two-run homer in the fifth, picked up the victory. Primeaux, a freshman, escaped trouble in both the fifth and sixth innings. Cassels, a sophomore, registered the save.
DSHS had eight hits – two each by Chauvin and Eddie Pezant. The Yellow Jackets had six hits – two by Tyler Evans and left 10 runners on base, including six in scoring position.