The Class 1A semifinal between No. 3 Central Catholic and No. 7 Cedar Creek was as wild as one would expect from two teams averaging around 12 runs a game.
Central Catholic took advantage of some generosity in the field by Cedar Creek, and the Cougars (30-5) did the same early on.
As the fifth inning rolled around with the Warriors (26-5) ahead 7-5, Cedar Creek coach Ben Haddox had seen enough. Haddox laid down the gauntlet in the dugout. He reminded the team they hadn’t won a game all season trailing from the fifth inning on. It was time to get that done.
The Cougars heard Haddox loud and clear.
Cedar Creek struck Central Catholic for eight runs on eight hits and two Warrior errors to get the 13-8 come-from-behind win and lock up a slot in the 1A state championship game for the first time since 2002.
“This is a direct reflection of these kids having the will to win and the talent to do it. This win is every bit about them,” Haddox said. “We didn’t coach a lick today, we just watched them play.”
Cole Frasier brought the score within a single run with a base hit single that scored pinch runner Garrett Granger. Following the hit Huff McIntosh dropped into centerfield to tie the game, it was on for Cedar Creek offensively.
Mark Van doubled to centerfield to drive in two and Jacob Antee crushed his second triple of the game that scored two more. An additional two runs followed before Central Catholic could escape to the bottom of the fifth.
“I struck out earlier on an outside pitch so coach told me to take it away, and I was able to hammer it to the other way,” Antee said.
Both of Antee’s triples came in key two out situations that scored runs.
Central Catholic was able to pull ahead 7-5 in the top of the third by taking advantage of some bases loaded situations. Stefano Guarisco and Sage Thibodeaux each drove in two for the Warriors.
Cedar Creek got three innings from starting pitcher Grant Clary before he gave way to Jacob Brown — the Cougar’s No. 2 starter who worked the semis in relief. Brown allowed only a single hit and run in four innings.
“Jacob really had to work with the heat and intensity of the game but he did a great job of coming out and stabilizing us,” Haddox said.
Cedar Creek’s opponent in the 1A championship game is No. 9 Sacred Heart of Ville Platte, who rallied in the top of the seventh to beat No. 4 St. John 6-4.
A win would give the Cougars their first state championship since 2000.
“There’s no better feeling right now to get to play another one,” said third-baseman Mark Van, who finished the game 4-for-5 with two RBIs.
“Our softball team just won one so we want to bring another one back to Cedar Creek.”