ZACHARY — Denham Springs High took an early lead, fought off a Zachary comeback, and rode the bat and arm of senior pitcher Bailey Holstein to a tense 4-3 road win at Zachary Youth Park on Tuesday.
Holstein gave up six hits, including five singles, while registering his second one-run, complete game victory over the Broncos this season. The win assured Denham Springs (20-7, 9-1 in District 4-5A) at least a share of the district title. He struck out five batters, two of them with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Zachary (25-7, 9-2) used a hit batsman, an error and a Micah McHugh single to load the bases before Holstein (8-0) got P.J. Cannon swinging and Douglas Coleman looking to end the game.
“Their whole team was cheering there at the end and it actually gave me a little energy boost,” Holstein said.“When we got that early cushion (a two-run lead in the first), I just tried to do what I’ve been taught, throw strikes and keep the ball in play.”
Holstein also provided what proved to be the winning run with a long home run in the third.
The Yellow Jackets wasted no time jumping on Zachary lefthander Corey Musselman (9-2) in the top of the first inning, scoring two runs and having a runner thrown out at the plate.
With one out Holstein hit a towering drive to the base of the wall in center field. Zachary center fielder Coleman nearly made a spectacular diving catch, but the ball popped out of his glove when he hit the ground.
The Broncos kept a run from scoring, though, when a perfect relay from Coleman to Cannon to Evan Pace nailed Martin by several feet.
Jonah Overland salvaged the inning for the Jackets when he lashed a double to left field, driving in Reese Pourciau and courtesy runner Beau Grasse.
Denham Springs had two more baserunners on a walk and an error before Musselman struck out Brock Batty to end the inning.
The Broncos scratched back for two runs in the fourth inning on base hits by McHugh and Hunter David and two costly Denham Springs errors. McHugh scored after stealing third base, and Coleman followed when Holstein threw wild on an attempted pickoff at second base.
ZHS pulled within one on a two-out double by McHugh which plated Bo Myers in the fifth inning.
The Broncos had the tying run on third with one out in the sixth inning before the Jackets turned a 6-4-3 double play to bail Holstein out of the inning.
“We have a tremendous amount of respect for (coach) Jesse (Cassard) and all they do,” Denham Springs coach Mark Carroll said. “Their kids did a good job hanging in and fighting back, and are kids did a good job at the end. It was about as nerve-wracking as you can get.”