SULPHUR — It was another banner year for Barbe High after all.
After placing fourth in District 3-5A, the fifth-seeded Bucs completed their run to a second straight Class 5A state title with a 6-1 victory over No. 2 Catholic High on Saturday night at the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA State Baseball tournament.
Title-game MVP Brant McNease tossed a four-hitter and struck out five for the Bucs, who have won six 5A titles in the last 10 years.
“This game we came out with a lot of intensity and put some runs in the board and went from there,” McNease said. “I didn’t really have all my working like I wanted to at the start. But as the game went on I found them.
“I got a feel for the mound and where the umpires strike zone was and started throwing all my pitches for strikes. I got them (Catholic) on their heels.
A two-RBI triple by Marshall Alexander was the key to a three-run third inning that set the tone for Barbe. The Bucs had four hits in the inning. Addison Armand’s long two-run home run in the top of the seventh helped put the game played at McMurry Park away.
McNease had a no-hitter until Matt Crapanzano reached on a infield hit in the bottom of the fourth for Catholic (37-4), which set a school record for most wins in a season and was seeking its second 5A title in three years and third since 2010.
JOHN CURTIS 4, PARKVIEW BAPTIST 2: Parkview Baptist kept the game close throughout, but was unable to make the big hit to overtake the Patriots (26-3) despite multiple opportunities throughout the game.
“It was a heck of a ballgame, it really was,” Parkview coach Darron Mitchell said. “You have to tip your hat to John Curtis. They threw it, and they hit it when they had to. It’s bittersweet, but I’m proud of the guys for getting to this game.”
John Curtis took the lead in the second inning on Hunter Dale’s two-run double that was proceeded by two walks.
The Patriots’ lead didn’t last long, as the Eagles (23-13 )would tie the game on a peculiar play.
With runners on first and second, Parkview senior third baseman Adam Tarver hit a slow grounder to John Curtis pitcher Daniel Cabrera, but immediately began hopping around as if the ball hit his foot. As a result, Cabrera held the ball until he realized the umpire never called the play dead. He then overthrew his first baseman, allowing Tarver to reach first and the two baserunners to score.
But Cabrera took matters into his hands, this time on offense, in the following at-bat when he hit a solo home run over the left field wall to give John Curtis a 3-2 lead.
The Patriots gave themselves a bit of cushion with another run in the bottom of the sixth.
KINDER 11, OAK GROVE 3: The Yellow Jackets (24-9) won their second straight 2A crown by putting the game away with a nine-run seventh inning.
Gavin Sonnier was 2-for-4 at the plate with a home run and three RBIs for Kinder. Zach Rider allowed five hits and struck out five, while walking on three. Drew Richard scored three runs and Dylon Poncho was 1-for-3 with two RBIs for the winners.
Wyatt Martin and Jackson Wyly each finished 1-for-3 for third-seeded Oak Grove (21-8).
FLORIEN 10, FAIRVIEW 2: Lane Alford led the way for the Blackcats (23-6), tossing a five-hitter and finishing 2-for-3 at the plate with a run scored and an RBI.
Second-seeded Florien broke the game opening early by scoring five runs in the bottom of the second inning and three more in the bottom of the third. Jacob Oxley was 1-for-1 and scored four runs for the winners.
Payton Gordon led ninth-seeded Fairview (16-11), the defending Class B champion, by going 2-for-3 with a sacrifice and an RBI.
ELIZABETH 10, CLAIBORNE CHRISTIAN 2: Much like Florien, top-seeded Elizabeth (25-4) relied on big innings, scoring five runs in the third inning and two more in the fourth.
Colby Lafauci got the win for the Bulldogs by allowing four hits and striking out two in four innings.
Elizabeth pounded out 13 hits as Ty Morgan finished 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs. Chance Gordon also was 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.
Wesley Drake led No. 3 Claiborne (15-9) by going 3-for-4 with an RBI.