A scrappy South Terrebonne baseball team made Benton sweat in the first four innings of Thursday’s Class 4A first-round playoff game, but the No. 4 Tigers pieced together a nine-run inning to get the 11-1 in five innings.
Benton held a 2-1 lead over the No. 29 Gators heading into the bottom of the fifth, and the Tigers used four hits, four free passes, two errors and a wild pitch to put together the decisive nine-run inning.
With the bases loaded, Jaret Gil started the fifth-inning scoring by singling in Wade Grubbs. Josh Scherer got an RBI after being hit by a pitch, one of three in the inning by reliever Blake Pellegrin.
Branson Woodward hit a bases loaded single to push the score to 5-1 before an Aaron Henigan fly out increased it to 6-1.
Jordan Shaffer (2-for-4) added a single RBI, Cameron Horton drew a bases loaded walk and another run scored on a wild pitch to increase the edge to 9-1.
The game ended on a two-run error. Seven different Tigers (27-8) recorded the eight hits.
“We knew coming in that (South Terrebonne) would be a tough opponent regardless of seedings. “The difference between the first four and the fifth is we finally started getting the timely hit. We were putting the ball in play … and that’s all you can ask.”
Henigan (9-1) got the win with one run on four hits and eight strikeouts.
The Gators (15-16) moved five runners in scoring position, and Henigan picked off one and recorded three of his strikeouts with runners in scoring position.
The most important came in the fourth inning when he struck out Beau Freeman with runners on second and third.
South Terrebonne scored earlier in the frame when Landon Trahan singled in Blake Freeman, whose wide slide at home allowed him to score to cut Benton’s lead to 2-1.
“South Terrebonne is better than what we thought,” Henigan said. “The first four innings, we weren’t pressing or anything because we’ve run a lot of close games.
“I was able to use my curve today … and used three pitches to keep them off balanced. Change-ups and curveballs are my best pitches.”
South Terrebonne starter Drey Dupre battled through three innings, allowing just a run on three hits while stranding five Tigers (four in scoring position).
After loading the bases and walking in a run in the third inning, Dupre got two pop outs and the Gators threw Shaffer out at the plate to minimize damage.
Benton (27-8) will face the winner of No. 13 Northwood and No. 20 Assumption on Friday at 6 p.m.