Senior first baseman Dustin Brown’s two-run homer, his first of the season, to left field capped a furious comeback as the No. 13-seed Northwood Falcons rallied from six runs down to defeat No. 20-seed Breaux Bridge, 10-8, in Class 4A first-round playoff action Friday at Dr. James Farrar Field on the campus of Northwood.
With the victory, the Falcons advance to meet District 1-4A rival Benton in the second round on Wednesday.
Brown drove a 1-0 fastball from reliever Aaron Darby deep over the left-field fence on the first pitch after the Falcons had tied the game with one out in the fifth inning. Timmy Yelverton, who went 4-for-4 with two doubles and three runs scored, had crossed the plate with the tying run one pitch earlier after Breaux Bridge catcher Dylan Mouton overthrew second base on a stolen-base attempt.
“There had been a pitching change and all that stuff with the error on the steal, so I had to wait it out a little bit,” said Brown. “He (Darby) threw me a fastball on the inside half and I saw it all the way. I’ll never forget getting a hit like that in a game this big.”
Brown’s blast was the exclamation point on a two-inning, eight-run outburst after Breaux Bridge (17-12) had taken an 8-2 lead in the fourth, thanks in large part to some sloppy defense by Northwood (24-7). The Falcons made four errors, costing them six unearned runs.
“We weren’t as sharp as we maybe should have been early in the game, but you can attribute a lot of that to their aggressiveness,” said Northwood head coach Darien Dukes. “I thought after we settled down and started to get some good at-bats ourselves in the middle innings, we started playing our game.”
Breaux Bridge scored three unearned runs in the second, then piled on three more unearned in the fourth before the Falcons’ patience at the plate began to pay off.
Northwood scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth without getting the ball out of the infield, relying on two infield hits and four walks to cut the deficit to 8-6.
Also keying the turnaround was the relief pitching of Cole Barnette, who came in for starter Yelverton in the fourth and did not allow a hit the rest of the way.
“That was a big key for us,” said Dukes. “Without Cole keeping them right there, it wouldn’t have mattered how many we scored.”
During the Falcons’ rally in the fifth, they took advantage of three Breaux Bridge errors. Shortstop Zane Corbell led off the inning with his second of three bunt singles, advancing to second on a wild throw. Yelverton followed with a ground ball to deep third and beat it out, with Corbell scoring and Yelverton advancing to third on an errant throw. After Barnette grounded sharply to third, Deauton Delgado reached on a fielder’s choice when the third baseman’s attempt to catch Yelverton off the bag failed. On Darby’s first pitch, Delgado broke for second, reaching safely when the throw sailed into center field, scoring Yelverton to tie it. Brown untied it on the next pitch.
The trio of Corbell, Yelverton and Barnette combined to go 9-for-11 with three doubles, seven runs scored and an RBI.
Loranger 11, North Webster 8: At Springhill, the 12th seeded Knights fell to the 21st seeded Wolves in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs to finish the season 21-10.
St. Thomas Aquinas 11, Lakeside 9: At Sibley, the Warriors couldn’t hold on to a 5-0 lead as the Falcons scored three runs in the seventh inning to rally for the first round Class 2A playoff win.
Cameron Corely and Cameron Gray were both 3-for-4 with a double for Lakeside (19-13), who took a 5-0 lead into the fifth inning.
St. Mary’s 10, Delhi Charter 0 (6): The No. 11 seed Tigers move on with a Class 1A first-round win and will face No. 6 Covenant Christian.
Cedar Creek 12, Crescent City 0: The No. 7 Cougars got the five-inning win Friday but will be traveling to No. 23 East Beauregard in the second round. East Beauregard knocked out No. 10 Grand Lake 8-5.
Class B: No. 13 Zwolle edged No. 20 Dodson 3-2 while No. 19 Negreet nearly pulled off the upset of No. 14 Weston but fell 8-7.