Dutchtown pitcher Cade Blanchard spent the majority of Tuesday night begging his coach for just one more inning.
The junior right-hander was only supposed to pitch the first two innings against Denham Springs on Tuesday night, but as the game progressed, it became harder and harder to pull Blanchard during his first start of the year.
By the time Dutchtown (9-2) coach Chris Schexnaydre made the call for a fresh arm on the mound, Blanchard had struck out nine in six scoreless innings, propelling the Griffins to a 1-0 win over the Yellow Jackets (9-1).
“I didn’t let myself actually think I was only going to go two innings,” Blanchard said. “I went in here thinking I was going to go the whole game.
“I was just walking up to coach at the end of every inning begging him to let me go until I can’t throw anymore.”
Blanchard (3-0) had typically been the Griffins’ sixth-inning reliever this year, but Schexnaydre said it was time he got to start a game.
Schexnaydre said he wasn’t surprised by Blanchard’s performance Tuesday, rather he was “very encouraged and pleased” by the effort he showed.
The game developed into a pitchers’ duel through the first five innings as neither side allowed a runner to reach past second base until Dutchtown took its lead in the bottom of the sixth.
Denham Springs starting pitcher Taylor Higgins recorded eight strikeouts and allowed three hits and no runs in five innings of action.
“Higgins pitched well,” said Denham Springs Athletic Director Dru Nettles who filled in for coach Mark Carroll after he was suspended for one game by the LHSAA. “He was actually on a pitch count, and we had to extend him by a few pitches to let him finish the fifth inning, and it was a well-pitched game.”
Yellow Jackets reliever Chris Courville couldn’t maintain his teammate’s scoreless effort.
With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Dutchtown left fielder Connor McCrory hit a line drive double into the left field corner that gave Griffins third baseman Cameron Crawford the room needed to score from first.
Courville promptly end the inning with the next batter, but the slight advantage was enough to see Dutchtown through to the victory.
Dutchtown finished with five hits, and Denham Springs had two.
“We’ve been able to come up with some timely hits, and McCrory came up with a big time, clutch hit in the sixth with two outs,” Schexnaydre said. “Crawford extended the inning for us, and then McCrory hit him in.”
“You hate to see any team lose a game like tonight, but fortunately for us, we were able to scratch one.”