SULPHUR — Fifth-seeded Maurepas season ended Thursday night when ninth-seeded and defending champion Fairview shut out the Wolves 4-0 in the Class B semifinals of the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA State Baseball tournament at McMurry Park.
The Wolves (21-10) put runners on base in all but two innings, but they could never find a way score any runs.
“The difference in the game was they played defense, and we didn’t,” said Maurepas assistant coach Brittany Lauzervich. “We put as much pressure on them as they put on us, but we didn’t make the plays when we had to make plays, and they did.”
Despite the heart-breaking end to the season, Lauzervich remained optimistic about the future of Maurepas’ program, as the Wolves will lose just three seniors to graduation and return six upperclassmen in 2016.
“I’ve got nine seventh- and eighth-graders, and three of them got playing time in (Thursday),” Lauzervich said. “I told them, in the next four years, if we win the state championship, those seniors are the reason why. They let the (younger players) see how to work hard and how to become better players.”
The Panthers (16-10) took control in the fourth inning, scoring two runs after putting together a string of three hits before extending their lead with another pair of runs in the fifth inning.
Fairview pitcher Hunter Dowies pitched four scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and striking out five.
“(Dowies) has been a competitor all year,” Fairview coach Greg Manuel said. “He does a great job for us all the time. He doesn’t give up very many walks, he lets them put the ball in play and we make plays behind him.”
Fairview junior designated hitter and last year’s Class B state tournament Most Outstanding Performer Garrett Lavergne led the Panthers offense going 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.
Lavergne attributed his continued success at the state tournament to his simple approach at the plate.
“I don’t ever try to do too much,” Lavernge said. “I come to the plate with a simple approach where I wait on a good pitch and try to hit it middle right side.
“It’s as simple as it gets. Hitting is an easy thing; you just can’t make it hard.”
The win sealed the Panthers’ second consecutive trip to the state championship game, and now they will look to earn back-to-back state titles when they take on No. 2 Florien at noon Saturday on Field 40.
“We played a tough schedule all year long,” Manuel said. “These boys came out and competed, and I’m just glad to come out with a win.