SLIDELL — Despite a 12-18 record, the Salmen Spartans are headed into the Class 4A baseball playoffs next week.
Salmen tuned up for the postseason with a 10-4 win over Northlake Christian on Saturday afternoon in the regular-season finale.
“It’s a good win for us,” Spartans coach Brian Babin said. “Those guys (Northlake Christian) are a quality baseball team. They are a highly ranked (Class) 2A team. I told my team that we are going to have to play hard for seven innings and treat it like a playoff atmosphere. I think we did that today.”
The Spartans erased a 1-0 deficit with three runs in the bottom of the first inning.
Tyler James led off the inning with a single, and, after stealing second base, advanced to third on a sacrifice fly. After Noel Cheneau was hit by a pitch and stole second base, James scored on a throwing error by catcher Ruston West.
Cheneau scored on a RBI single by Zack Lane to make it 2-1, and Lane extended the lead to 3-1 when he scored on a double by Andrew Carlos.
James and Cheneau had back-to-back RBI doubles an inning later to make it 4-1.
Up 6-3 in the fifth, Carlos struck the big blow of the game when he launched a two-run home run to extend the lead to 8-3.
Carlos, the Spartans catcher, finished the game 2-for-4 with three RBIs. James added a pair of hits with two RBIs, and Lane went 2-for-3 with two runs driven in.
Salmen’s running attack also made an impact as the Spartans swiped seven bases in nine attempts.
“We count on our team speed a lot,” Babin said. “We do a lot of running to put pressure on a lot of opposing teams. That is our motto. It worked out well for us today.”
Starting pitcher Peyton Lang picked up the win after going three innings and allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits, while striking out four and walking one.
Drew Kennedy got the save after throwing four innings of one-run relief.
Peyton Plaisance took the loss for NCHS (17-14), giving up five runs in 1.2 innings. Plaisance allowed five hits and four walks.
Despite heading into the playoffs with a losing record, Babin said he likes his team’s chances.
“Usually we do get overlooked heading into the playoffs,” the former Southeastern Louisiana quarterback said. “We load our schedule up with hard teams that prepare us for the playoffs. We don’t schedule any cupcakes and get easy wins. We work hard for every win that we get. We have confidence that we can play with anybody, and we are going to head into the playoffs with that confidence.”