SULPHUR– Storms put Byrd’s state title hopes on hold Saturday night in Sulphur.
The Yellow Jackets and senior pitcher Andrew Suggs appeared to have the momentum when catcher Trent Touchet caught Alex Gore’s popup for the second out in the bottom of the fourth inning of the Class 5A final at McMurray Park with the score tied, 2-2. Before Bryan Lawrence saw his first pitch, the home plate umpire and others saw a big flash of lightning beyond the left-field wall.
After waiting for more than two hours, coaches agreed to resume the game Sunday at 1 p.m. Area forecasts show scattered thunderstorms most of Sunday afternoon.
A long night started well for Byrd when it scored in the first thanks to three two-out hits, just like its game-winning rally in the sixth inning of Friday’s 2-1 semifinal win over Acadiana. Big first baseman Zack Flash finished it off by lining an RBI single to left to score right fielder Steele Netterville.
But several crucial mistakes helped Barbe answer with two quick runs in the bottom of the first against Suggs, even though the right-hander notched two strikeouts. He hit Brogan McNease after leadoff hitter Lorenzo Gauthier’s infield single, and a pair of wild pitches plus an error allowed them to come around to score.
Suggs created an opportunity to immediately tie the game in the second when he alertly sprinted to second on a fielding error, allowing him to open up a hole of the left side for Jacob Fussell’s one-out single. Barbe pitcher Tyler Booth managed to work his way out of the jam with a strikeout and a well-timed throw home from shortstop Alex Gore to gun down Suggs after Fussell intentionally got caught in a rundown between first and second.
The Yellow Jackets’ lineup featuring eight righties continued to bother the lefty Booth in his third and final inning, which began with a pair of infield singles by Wyatt Broome and Steele Netterville. Lucas Henderson’s bases-loaded single scored Broome, but a great throw from Bucs left fielder Tanner Littleton to get Netterville at home kept the game.
Slate Fuller moved over from first base to the mound in the fourth inning to replace Broome, who gave up seven singles in three innings. But a lack of extra base-hits and struggles with runners in scoring position kept Byrd’s offense from exploding.
Suggs gave up the game’s only extra base hit on a two-out double to Fuller in the first before retiring eight straight batters. If Byrd decides to turn to a new pitcher Sunday, it will likely be Brennon Ertz, who threw a complete game in the Yellow Jackets’ 9-1 series clinching win at Airline in last Saturday’s quarterfinals.