North DeSoto didn’t do it by the book, but the Griffins figured out a way to win. The Griffins did it their way.
Despite spotting visiting Eunice four unearned runs in the first inning, the Griffins used a two-out line drive to center field by Chip Eubanks in the bottom of the seventh inning to clip the Bobcats 8-7 in a Class 3A quarterfinal playoff game.
North DeSoto (28-4) advances to the state tournament in Sulphur on Friday when the Griffins face Parkview Baptist, a 6-2 winner against Iowa. Eunice finished its season at 22-12.
Coach Bo Odom’s Griffins, defending state champions, had to overcome six errors to get the win.
“We hadn’t made an error in three games,” an exasperated Odom said . “It is just uncharacteristic of us to play that way. We try to keep it close and then find a way to win at the end. That’s what we do.”
Freshman Hunter Speights, batting ninth in the lineup, got the game’s biggest hit in the bottom of the fifth. Speights turned on 1-2 fastball and sent it over the right-field fence to give North DeSoto its first lead of the game at 7-5.
“He (Speights) may be a freshman, but he can still hit,” Odom said. “I’ve got eight other guys that can hit too.”
Cleanup hitter Louis Vig also came up huge for the Griffins with a solo homer, single and sacrifice fly. His single in the lower half of the first scored North DeSoto’s first run and his homer to left center in the third cut the deficit to 5-2.
Eunice rallied for two more unearned runs in the top of the seventh to tie the score at 7. Clay Francois’ double scored two runners that got aboard via two North DeSoto errors.
The winning rally started in the bottom of the seventh inning when Dustin Brossette reached on an error.
Alex Boone laid a perfect bunt down the third base line and beat the throw to first base. Mitchell Hakun pinch hit and was promptly hit by relief pitcher John Ross Johnson. That loaded the bases.
However, Speights popped out to Johnson for the second out, bringing Eubanks to the plate for the dramatic finish.
On a 3-2 pitch, Eubanks hit a sinking line drive to center field. It was misplayed, and the ball went between Taylor Hanks’ legs all the way to the wall with Brossette scoring the winning run. Eubanks was mobbed by his teammates as he rounded first base.
Austin Pinnick (12-1) picked up the win in relief. Pinnick pitched the final three innings and allowed just two hits. He did allow two unearned runs.