ZACHARY – Denham Springs coach Mark Carroll set up the situation to get out of a bases-loaded jam of a tie game in the bottom of the seventh inning against Zachary on Thursday.
With runners on second and third and one out, Carroll called for LSU signee Alex Milazzo to receive an intentional walk to set up a double play situation. Carroll got the desired potential double play ball, but the results were not as he wanted.
Denham Springs misplayed Maverick McClure’s ground ball and Jayden Williams scored the winning run as the Broncos defeated the Yellow Jackets 3-2 in a District 4-5A game at John Herty Field.
“That’s where we wanted the ball to be hit,” Carroll said. “We wanted it to go to one of our two guys in the middle. We just didn’t make the play. We made some really good defensive plays in the game. We just didn’t make that one play there.”
Denham Springs relief pitcher Brandon Kohn, who replaced starter Tyler Evans in the sixth, hit Williams to start the seventh. After Creed David popped out on his attempted sacrifice bunt, Williams moved to second on a wild pitch.
Carroll then intentionally walked Keilon Brown to set up a double play. After another wild pitch, Carroll intentionally walked Milazzo.
Evans gave Denham Springs (13-13, 3-4) five gritty innings. After a rough start with walks to Zachary’s first two batters on eight consecutive balls, Evans a double-play ground ball from Milazzo and following a walk to McClure, Brady Hernandez was retired on a ground ball.
Evans pitched out of trouble in the second inning. With two out, AJ Bailey walked and advanced to third on a single by Williams. After Williams stole second, Evans struck out David.
But, the Broncos (21-8, 4-2) finally got on the scoreboard in the fifth.
With two out, both David and Brown singled. An infield single by Milazzo loaded the bases. An infield hit by McClure brought home David. Evans walked Hernandez which tied the score at 2-2. Courtesy runner Devin Hannum was then thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
“The players just willed their way to a win,” Zachary coach Jacob Fisher said. “We had some adversity where we ran ourselves out of some innings. But, we continued to fight. It wasn’t (starting pitcher) Tanner Hall’s best outing, but he was able to get through six innings and hold Denham to two runs.”
Cade Doughty put Denham Springs in front in the top of the first inning with a long two-out home run over the left-field fence. The Yellow Jackets then loaded the bases on two errors and a hit batter, but Evans grounded into a force play to end the inning.
Denham Springs threatened against Hall in the third when Noah Juan doubled with two out, but was left stranded in scoring position.
The Yellow Jackets went ahead 2-0 in the fourth, but they could have scored more runs. Josh Preston opened the inning with a single and moved to third on a single by Evans. Preston got hung up off third base and thrown out on a safety squeeze bunt by Tanner Hall.
Bailey made a throwing error on Matt Delaney’s ground ball, allowing courtesy runner JT Gould to score, but Delaney was tagged out trying to advance to second base.
Brennan Hall was stranded at third base when David Frye struck out.
Denham Springs did not take advantage of another scoring opportunity in the fifth. With one out, Doughty walked and stole second. Tanner Hall prevented Doughty from scoring by striking out Juan and getting Duhe to ground out.
After Zachary tied the score in the bottom of the fifth, DSHS wasted another scoring chance in the sixth. With one out, Evans singled and went to second on a wild pitch by Tanner Hall.
After Brennan Hall struck out, Delaney reached on an error and pinch-runner Tanner Zeppuhar stole second. Beau Lockhart, who relieved Tanner Hall, struck out Frye to earn his first win of the year after coming off Tommy John surgery.