SULPHUR — Standing 180 feet away from home and a potential state championship, Teurlings Catholic’s Hayden Cantrelle didn’t see any risk — only opportunity.
Cantrelle, who had tied Saturday’s Class 4A state championship game with a double down the right-field line in the bottom of the fifth, broke on Brett Weber’s bunt and didn’t stop until he crossed home plate.
What may have appeared to be a daring move was textbook Teurlings base-running: scoring the go-ahead run on a ball that traveled all of 30 feet. Pitcher Josh Taylor made it stand to lead the top-seeded Rebels to a 3-2 victory and the state title over No. 3 seed West Ouachita at McMurry Park.
“It was one of those games where you’ve got to chip away,” said Cantrelle, a Louisiana-Lafayette commitment. “When opportunity presents itself, we had to take advantage.”
Teurlings’ come-from-behind victory came 363 days after the Rebels lost 5-1 to St. Thomas More in last year’s state championship game.
Teurlings (34-5) was not only driven to return to this stage at the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA state tournament but to have it culminate in victory, the Rebels securing their first state crown since 2012 and the sixth in school history. The Rebels, 7-2 in one-run games this season, won 22 of their final 23 games.
“We’ve been on big stages,” said Taylor, voted the game’s Most Outstanding Player for his complete-game effort. “We make it far every year and have a lot of pressure. We knew how to deal with it. Everybody played well.”
Teurlings ran into potential roadblocks on its way to trying to atone for last year’s disappointing conclusion.
The Rebels, ranked No. 23 nationally by MaxPreps.com, trailed Breaux Bridge 4-0 after two innings in Thursday’s state semifinal before rallying for a 5-4 victory on Nick Webre’s home run in the bottom of the sixth.
In trying to conquer West Ouachita, which beat No. 6 Benton and No. 2 St. Michael the Archangel to reach the final, Teurlings found itself locked in a scoreless duel between Taylor and West Ouachita’s Austin Tidwell until the fourth inning.
After that, the game teetered on which team could answer the other over the next three innings, with the score changing hands four times.
“The close games we’ve been in lately in the playoffs are crucial for us in believing and knowing we can get it done,” Teurlings coach Mike Thibodeaux said. “We hit the ball really hard. The guys knew we were going to break through.”
After Dawson Huckabay doubled in a run for West Ouachita (26-9), Teurlings rallied from its first deficit when Jacob Richard doubled home Chaney Dodge with one out.
LSU signee Zach Watson of the Chiefs was intentionally walked with two outs, stole second base and made it 2-1 on Tidwell’s single to left in the sixth.
FAIRVIEW 14, GRACE CHRISTIAN 3: Sixth-seeded Panthers (17-5) scored five runs in the second inning and six in the sixth to claim the title.
Garret Lavergne scattered six hits and struck out seven for the winners. Christian Leonards had a three-run triple, and Garret Lemieu was 2-for-4 with a two-run triple for Fairview of Allen Parish. Trevor Saucier was 2-for-4 with two RBIs for top-seeded Grace Christian (25-7) .
CLAIBORNE CHRISTIAN 6, DOWNSVILLE 2: In Class C, Trevor Rugg and Griffith Olinde led the way for the Crusaders of Ouachita Parish. Rugg struck out five and gave up four hits in a complete-game victory.
Olinde finished with three hits, including a two-run triple for No. 4 seed Claiborne (14-9). Nick Clark also tossed a complete game for second-seeded Downsville (13-7), allowing seven hits.