The first five innings of Tuesday’s Class 3A playoff game between Parkview Baptist and visiting St. Louis Catholic were so efficiently played that it almost seemed given that extra innings would be needed.
And they were. Pryce Fletcher singled home pinch runner Ross Powers in the bottom of the ninth as fifth-seeded Parkview edged No. 12 St. Louis 2-1.
St. Louis (17-16) advanced to the playoffs out of District 4-3A. Parkview (21-12) won its ninth consecutive game, and moves on to the quarterfinals to face No. 4 South Beauregard, the 4-3A champion.
Much of Tuesday’s game was a pitchers’ duel between Parkview’s Hunter Joubert and SLC’s Ferguson Cochran. Both went the distance, but it was Parkview that finally got the upper hand.
Matthew Vicknair led off the bottom of the ninth with a single, and pinch-runner Powers took second on a sacrifice bunt. Eric Wharton beat out an infield single and Darius Jones was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Fletcher.
Fletcher worked the count to 2-2 before bouncing the game-winning single through the left side.
“Give credit to Vicknair for getting the leadoff single in the six hole,” PBS coach Darron Mitchell said. “After that, every guy did what they were supposed to do, and then Pryce came up with the big single.”
Parkview took a 1-0 lead in the sixth. Sam O’Brien singled, and took third on Adam Tarver’s double. Joubert’s sacrifice fly scored O’Brien and moved Tarver to third.
On the next at-bat, Tarver was thrown out at the plate as Cochran fielded Vicknair’s bunt and tossed to catcher Jack Aguillard for the tag. Tarver collided with Aguillard and was ejected from the game for failing to slide.
Mitchell said he would talk with the LHSAA on Wednesday and was hopeful Tarver would be available for the quarterfinals.
Athletes are disqualified from participating in their team’s next game when they are ejected for fighting, or leaving a team area when there is a fight.
St. Louis was down to its final out before tying the game in the top of the seventh. P.J. Hardy led off with a bunt single and took second on a bunt. Joubert was then called for a balk, allowing Hardy to take third.
Joubert struck out Ryan Palermo for the second out. His next pitch was to Cochran, who knocked in Hardy with a bunt toward third base.
“(Cochran) has been good at that all year,” SLC coach John Collins said. “They had us shaded over, and they were playing back at third. We treated it about like a safety squeeze.”
Joubert walked Garrett Guidry before striking out Dylan Greenman to get out of the inning.
Parkview had a chance to win it in the bottom of the eighth, when it cracked two extra-base hits. O’Brien was thrown out at third trying to stretch his leadoff hit into a triple. Hayden Nickens laced a two-out double but was stranded.
“It was an exciting game. Both teams played as hard as they could, and what’s bad is that somebody had to lose,” Collins said.
“Both pitchers got the ball and went after the other team. It was fun to watch.”
Cochran threw 107 pitches with five strikeouts and two walks. He surrendered both PBS runs on nine hits. Joubert gave up one run on four hits, and had 11 strikeouts and two walks. He threw 98 pitches, 61 for strikes.
“I don’t know if (Joubert) has had a bad outing,” Mitchell said.
“Even if he, does he hasn’t been giving up any runs. It was a fantastic job. He battled the entire game.”