ZACHARY — Zachary High School didn’t have much power to its offense, but the Broncos had enough aggressiveness, execution and pitching to defeat Central 8-2 in the District 4-5A baseball opener for both teams Thursday night.
Central (8-16, 0-1) had a good second inning when they cut a 3-0 lead to 3-2, but from then on Zachary starter Trent Crowder was in control, allowing only one more hit in four innings and facing only three batters over the minimum.
“Trent has been getting better and better,” Zachary coach Jesse Cassard said. “He lost some tough games against some tough guys. He gets better each time, and we keep preaching that he’ll pitch his best in the playoffs.”
Zachary (17-8, 1-0) picked up three unearned runs with two outs in the first inning. Central starter Preston Fondren walked Gabe Hannum to open the game, then got two quick outs before Micah McHugh hit a ground ball to third that Travis Stevens mishandled to keep the inning alive.
Hannum and Stevens scored on a hit by Kyle Vince, and Vince came around to score on a balk and a wild pitch.
“If we make that play, it changes the complexion of the game, but it was a tough hop and you have to give their hitters credit,” Central coach Mike Forbes said. “They kept the inning going.
“Their pitcher pitched real well, and we were pounding balls in the dirt. We’re not a team that’s going to lay down,” Forbes said. “We’ve just got to figure a way to get on top of that won and lost column.”
Central cut into the lead in the next half inning, scoring two runs on a double by Chris Chambliss, singles by Travis Stevens and Thomas Eddleman, and a fielder’s choice ground ball by Mason Gautreaux.
Zachary added two more runs in the fourth, the second run coming on a steal of home by Stephen Babin.
The Broncos loaded the bases again and tried unsuccessfully to squeeze in another run, but Fondren got Andre Weber to pop up after Weber’s shot down the left-field line was barely foul.
Weber got a measure of revenge in the sixth when he hit an RBI triple off the third Central pitcher, Brett Courville, and scored on a groundout by McHugh.
“If we could take out the second inning, I thought we played a pretty clean game,” Cassard said. “Offensively, we’ve been preaching to score one run an inning, whether it’s a suicide squeeze or stealing home or a base hit with two outs.
“Each inning we scored in tonight there was some kind of execution we work on.”
Vince led the Broncos with three hits in four at-bats, scoring two runs and driving in another.
Thomas Eddleman went 2-for-3 for Central and drove in a run. Chambliss had a double and scored a run for the Wildcats.