SCOTT — With his team’s season hanging in the balance, the bases loaded with just one-out, and a 2-0 lead, Acadiana baseball coach Matt McCullough never wavered. This was Rams starter Brandon Duhon’s game to finish.
The Acadiana hurler had given the Dutchtown hitters fits for the first six innings Tuesday at Acadiana. He had allowed three hits and one walk before things got dicey in the top of the seventh. But the Rams managed to hold for a 2-1 victory in a Class 5A first- round playoff.
Ethan Baldwin led off the Dutchtown seventh with a single up the middle. Pinch hitter Connor Tregre then popped up for the first out, but consecutive singles by Seth Jarreau and Joey Rodrigue loaded the bases for the Griffins. Dutchtown leadoff man Caleb Ricca hit a sacrifice fly to center that scored pinch runner Harrison Hudson and cut the Acadiana lead to 2-1.
Then with two-outs and runners at first and second, Cullen Ballard hit Duhon’s 2-1 pitch to Rams second baseman Mateo Beltran who tossed to shortstop Luis Flores for the forceout.
“The seventh inning is always tough,” McCullough said. “They did a good job of getting a few hits, but we knew Brandon was going to compete and give us a chance. It was his game, and he a good job of finding a way to get out of that last inning.”
Duhon surrendered one run on six hits while striking out four.
Acadiana’s first run came in the second inning.
With two-outs, Mateo Beltran doubled to right. Designated hitter JuJuan Franklin singled to score Beltran. Franklin, who moved up to second base after Collin Dugas singled, was lifted for pinch runner Jordan Quibodeaux.
Nine-hole hitter Alex Courtier followed with hit, but Quibodeaux was thrown out at home. Despite stringing together four consecutive two-out hits the Rams only had one run to show for it.
Acadiana’s other run came in the fourth.
Hunter Tabb led off the fourth with a single to right and advanced to third when Mateo Beltran singled to right. With one-out, sophomore designated hitter JuJuan Franklin lifted an 0-1 pitch to deep center for a sacrifice fly to score Tabb.
Franklin’s sacrifice fly also put an end to Dutchtown starter Cade Blanchard’s day. Blanchard gave up two runs and seven hits in 32?3 innings.
Despite only scoring the two runs, McCullough was pleased with his offense for the most part.
“I thought we had a good approach at the plate,” he said. “We made a few mistakes early, didn’t score a few runs, but our guys did a good job of continuing to compete and worrying about what matters — the next pitch.”
Acadiana improved its record to 17-14, while Dutchtown finishes 17-13. Acadiana will travel to face rival Lafayette High in the second-round game.