BENTON — Bastrop baseball coach Whit Whitlock brought his Rams to Bossier Parish to face a playoff-caliber team.
Whitlock’s Rams certainly saw a playoff-caliber pitcher.
Benton right-hander Aaron Henigan tossed a complete game, scattering four hits and striking out 13, as the Tigers cruised past Bastrop, 4-1, on Tuesday at Tiger Field.
“He commanded the strike zone with three pitches,” Benton coach J.D. Stephens said. “That’s what he does well. He competes in the strike zone. He knows how to throw to the white, especially when he falls behind. He knows how to pitch. He doesn’t just throw.”
Henigan (5-2) followed his normal pattern of using his curveball to set up his fastball.
That style allowed him to strike out two hitters in six of the seven innings.
The lone inning Henigan didn’t record multiple strikeouts, he got some help from his defense.
Trailing 4-1, Bastrop (7-10) was in the process of building a two-out rally. Vadarrian Ridgell reached on an error before Kyle Perkins lined a ball into the left-center gap.
Perkins headed for second, but Jordan Shaffer’s relay throw beat him there, allowing Henigan to take a three-run lead into the seventh.
“Jordan, I love him,” said Henigan, who threw 98 pitches Tuesday. “He can make plays at any time. I’m glad he’s my shortstop.”
The Tigers (13-8) could say the same thing about Henigan’s mound presence.
Benton managed just seven hits off Bastrop right-hander Chase Cockrell with Branson Woodward’s two-run, third-inning single being the biggest Tigers hit of the game.
That was one more big hit than the Rams mustered against Henigan.
“He did a great job of mixing it up,” Whitlock said of Henigan. “He can throw two pitches, three pitches even later in the game, wherever he wanted. He really kept us on our toes. We didn’t make the adjustments we needed to make at the plate to be successful.”
The relative tightness of the game — Benton scored twice in the second and third innings — helped keep Henigan sharp.
“I just threw strikes, had great command of the curveball,” Henigan said. “That’s basically pitching — throwing strikes when the team can’t score.”