SULPHUR — The St. Thomas More baseball team sealed a perfect district season in dramatic fashion when it outlasted Teurlings Catholic 4-3 in 12 innings Saturday at McMurry Park.
After failing to score a run in the previous nine innings, St. Thomas More (23-8, 12-0 District 5-4A) finally took a the lead in the top of the 12th inning when shortstop O’Neal Lochridge doubled to bring in center fielder Brennan Breaux for the winning run.
“We got over here and both teams played their hearts out,” St. Thomas More coach Gary Perkins said. “It was just two good teams battling until the end, like always in this rivalry.”
After each team scored three runs in the first three innings, the game turned into a defensive stalemate, and both struggled to capitalize on offensive opportunities.
The Cougars left six base runners stranded in scoring position in the first six innings of the contest, while Teurlings (21-9, 9-3) left three potential game-winning runs in scoring position late in the game.
“It’s pretty tough,” said Terulings coach Mike Thibodeaux. “We had so many opportunities, especially against (St. Thomas More relief pitcher Brandon Romero). You know you’re going to have to fight and scrap. We got all of our runs against the starter, which normally isn’t the case.”
The Rebels almost had another shot at ending the game in the 10th inning when Teurlings right fielder Nick Webre hit one that reached the wall, but he was caught at third base after a good throw by St. Thomas More center fielder and LSU-commitment Brennan Breaux to end the inning.
Thibodeaux took responsibility for the loss, saying that play may have changed the outcome had he held Webre at second base.
“The game could have gone either way, and I told the guys I’ll take this one,” Thibodeaux said. “I need to do a better job coaching because I made a bad decision (to wave Webre to third).”
After giving up three runs, two earned, and three hits in the first three innings, St. Thomas More starting pitcher Hogan Harris seemed to find his rhythm late, only allowing one hit and two base runners for the remainder of his seven innings.
“Once (Harris) got going, he loosened his arm up and the sun came out, I thought he pitched pretty well from the fourth inning on,” Perkins said.
Both coaches said tight games like these have come to be expected when these two teams meet. Despite the loss, Thibodeaux said he’s satisfied with the way his team fought and closed the season, and Perkins said he felt fortunate to finish the season with two wins against the Rebels.
“I saw times when (the Rebels) were on top of it and more aggressive offensively and defensively, then I saw periods where we were,” Perkins said. “Bottom line, we both played hard, and I’m not going to say the best team won because we could play 10 times and it would probably be the same situation.”