LIVINGSTON — Led by Tyler Pigott’s complete game and Hilton Savoy’s go-ahead two run single, the top-seeded Doyle baseball team advanced to the Class 2A semifinals after defeating Sterlington 3-1 in a quarterfinal game Saturday afternoon at Sartwell Memorial Park.
The top-seeded Tigers trailed the Panthers 1-0 after the first inning, and faced a bases loaded, no-outs situation in the top of the sixth, but the Doyle defense was able to stem the tide.
“It was a pretty big relief.” Pigott said. “I knew my defense would stay behind me and pull it out.”
Savoy, Doyle’s shortstop, credited getting out of the jam to the experience their team gathered after playing a challenging schedule this season.
“Coach told us to never pressure, always relax and just think about the next play that’s coming to you,” Savoy said.
Doyle took the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning. Pigott reached first to lead off the inning after getting hit by a pitch and catcher Ben Barnes followed with a single. After Pigott and Barnes were replaced with courtesy runners Tyler Dawsey and Tristan Jones, Savoy knocked in both with a two-run single.
“I was looking for a fastball to be right down the middle, and that’s what he (Sterlington pitcher Ross Lambert) gave me,” Savoy said. “I hit it back up the middle and did what I had to do.”
Sterlington had several key miscues that proved to be costly. The Panthers stranded six runners and had a seventh, courtesy runner Austin Dupree, thrown out trying to advance to third after a Lambert single.
A big play in the game was a pitching decision made by Sterlington coach Mark Sims during Savoy’s go-ahead at bat.
“We were going away from him and had him leaning, and I thought it was time to come inside,” Sims said. “I should’ve made him hit it to right field. That’s 100 percent on me.”
The game featured a pitchers’ duel between Pigott and Lambert.
Both southpaw starters threw complete games and combined for five three-up, three-down innings.
Pigott only allowed seven hits, struck out six and did not issue a walk. It was a performance that didn’t go unnoticed by his head coach.
“He’s been our guy all year,” Doyle coach Tim Beatty said. “We told him we’re getting on his back and riding him today. He rose to the challenge and did an awesome job.”
Beatty said he never thought about pulling Pigott after loading the bases in the sixth inning.
The Tigers haven’t been a team to shy away from the pressure of being No.1. They’ve been atop the rankings for eight consecutive weeks and embrace the target on their backs.
“We tell them go play like you’re No. 1,” Beatty said. “We love it.”
Doyle plays No. 4 seed Kinder in a semifinal Friday at McMurry Park in Sulphur. For the Tigers, this is the culmination of a promise Beatty made his players three years ago.
“I’m proud of them,” Beatty said. “When I got here, all those guys were sophomores, and I told them in three years we would be state contenders. Now we are.”
MAUREPAS 3, ZWOLLE 2: In Maurepas, the fifth-seeded Wolves (21-9) rallied in the bottom of the seventh to advance to the semifinals. MHS plays top-seeded Fairview, the defending Class B champion, in a semifinal set for 7 p.m. Thursday in Sulphur.
“We just scratched and clawed and found a way to win,” Maurepas coach Anthony Gregoire said. “We got a little Texas leaguer that fell in. Things went our way.”
Brody Babin led off the seventh with a single, stole second and was sacrificed to third. After Donovan Thibodeaux walked, Chaz Scivicque, brother of LSU catcher Kade Scivicque, singled to score Babin.
A single by Austin Aime brought Thibodeaux home to score the winning run. Maurepas makes its first tourney appearance since making the Class C semifinals in 2013.