BATON ROUGE – Late in Thursday’s Metro League baseball game between Denham Springs and University High there was a sequence of plays that provided a snapshot of the wacky, back-and-forth game the teams staged.
Mikey Smith led off the U-High fifth with a pop up that somehow fell in shallow right field with three Yellow Jacket players five feet away. Carson Abney followed with a liner to shortstop Job Norgress, who tagged Smith for a quick double play.
With lightning threatening in the background, the game was called one out later as U-High took an 11-8 win.
The Cubs scored seven runs in the first two innings and looked ready to run away from the Yellow Jackets.
Denham Springs rallied with six runs in the top of the third, but a four-run fourth put U-High back in command.
U-High collected eight hits while Denham Springs finished the game with three hits. Each team had three errors.
The Yellow Jackets also had mental errors.
“There were some errors, but there were some defensive plays where we could have thrown some guys out,” Denham Springs coach Mark Carroll said. “The good thing was the kids battled back and made it a one-run game. That’s what makes you proud as a coach.”
Outside circumstances often dictate lineups during summer league play, and Carroll noted that several underclassmen were brought up to fill out a 10-man roster for the game. Among those were the starting battery of pitcher Lane Dudley and catcher Cameron Andrews.
Dudley issued five walks in two innings of work, and the Jackets also had two of their errors during his stint. U-High had only two hits off of Dudley but scored four runs in the first inning and three in the second.
“We haven’t thrown Lane a bunch this summer,” Carroll said. “But we saw a couple of things we can tweak that we think will help him tremendously.”
Hayden Horne came on to pitch the last three innings. After a scoreless third inning, he ran into trouble in the fourth with two outs and a runner on first. He went on to give up three hits as U-High stretched a 7-6 lead to 11-6.
“Hayden was around the plate the whole time, and he gave our defense a chance. I can live with that from a pitcher,” Carroll said.
The Jackets got two runs back in the top of the fifth. Horne led off with a walk and later scored on a fielding error. Cameron Schwartz also reached base on a walk and came in from second on a double steal when U-High catcher Christian Scherer’s throw sailed into center field.
In the six-run Denham Springs third, the Jackets picked up all three of their hits – singles by Larson Fabre, Madden Major and J.T. Gould – off of U-High starting pitcher Reed Segar. The Yellow Jackets sent 12 batters to the plate in the inning.
The Cubs turned to reliever Mikey Smith after Segar issued a bases-loaded walk to Major forcing in the sixth run of the inning. Smith got a ground ball out to end the inning, and retired Denham Springs in order in the fourth inning.