The 10th-seeded Zachary Broncos used small ball to open an early lead and continued an offensive onslaught Wednesday afternoon in a 10-0 win against No. 23 Airline in the first round of the Class 5A baseball playoffs.
Zachary (24-11) scored three unearned runs in the first inning without getting a ball out of the infield, taking advantage of two Vikings errors and laying down two suicide squeeze bunts.
“The keys to success of playing Zachary are to not give them free bases and to make routine plays,” Airline coach Toby Todd said.
Senior pitcher Landon Lewis (8-2) hit the first batter in the bottom of the first inning, and Zachary coach Jesse Cassard immediately called for small ball.
The Broncos bunted Steven Babin to second base, and a throwing error put runners at second and third.
“If we make that out, it probably changes the complexion of the inning,” Todd said.
Instead, Gabe Hannum laid down an RBI squeeze bunt, and Andre Weber scored from second base on another throwing error. Kyle Vince followed with a second straight RBI squeeze bunt, and the Broncos led by three runs.
“We played our game and put pressure on ’em,” said Cassard, whose team laid down five sacrifice bunts in the victory.
“It’s hard to chase a three-spot with them, because they can be as aggressive as they want to be,” Todd said.
The Vikings attempted to get back in the game in the second inning, loading the bases after two Zachary fielding errors and a hit batter.
However, Zachary pitcher Evan Tidwell induced a popup and got out of the jam when a grounder back up the middle was fielded by shortstop Cade Milazzo, who stepped on second base and fired to first for a double play.
“(The double play) was just humongous,” Cassard said. “That kills all momentum that they would have had.”
“The ground ball, if it doesn’t hit the mound and just ramp to him, that’s probably an RBI single and we have something to go off because it was three runs at the time,” Todd said.
But it wasn’t meant to be for the Vikings, who finished the season 19-16.
North Webster 8, Catholic-New Iberia 2: At New Iberia, the Knights (28-8) earned a third meeting with District 1-2A foe Evangel by taking an early 5-0 lead to upset the No. 6-seeded Panthers.
Cole Gray (6-4) tossed six innings of two-run ball, working through a brief rain delay. Baley Baker finished with a scoreless seventh.
Connor Nolan paced North Webster’s 13-hit attack with a 4-for-4 day that included two doubles and two RBIs.
Gray, Dylan Modisette, Brayden Howard and Renaldo Morris each added two hits for North Webster, which shared the district title with Calvary and Evangel.