DENHAM SPRINGS — Denham Springs High didn’t get off to a great start. Zachary High left-hander Corey Musselman cut down the first 12 batters he faced and gave up just three hits.
But the Yellow Jackets sure knew how to finish.
DSHS pushed across single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to notch a 2-1 victory over Zachary in District 4-5A baseball action Saturday at North Park’s A.B. Netterville Field.
Bailey Holstein (6-0) scattered seven hits and struck out three, while Reese Pourciau’s bloop single to center scored the winning run to vault the Yellow Jackets (15-6, 4-1) into a first-place tie with the Broncos (20-6, 4-1) after one round of league play.
The Yellow Jackets also threw out two Zachary baserunners in the top of the seventh to provide drama.
“We took giant steps toward winning it in the first inning when we only gave up one run,” DSHS coach Mark Carroll said. “They had the whole school on base in front of them. But that gave us a chance in the long run.
“Bailey pitched a great game after that. (We) might want to charge another $6 at the gate on the way out for all the excitement on that one (last play). That was a pretty darn good high school ball game.”
Musselman (6-1) took the loss. The Northwestern State signee struck out five. Zachary’s Bo Myers, who finished 2-for-3, was the only hitter for either team with more than one hit.
“We had 22 quality at-bats against Holstein,” Zachary coach Jesse Cassard said. “I thought we swung the bat well. There were a few baserunning mistakes we made. We made more mistakes.”
Denham Springs capitalized on miscues to throw out two runners in the last inning. Hunter David was hit by a pitch. When Mikey Rider singled one out later, DSHS’ right-fielder Travis Swaggerty, a South Alabama signee, threw out pinch-runner Cornelius Ford trying to go from first to third.
“I saw the coach send that runner from second to third and I said ‘This is my shot right here to make a play for my team,’ ” Swaggerty said.
Third baseman Hunter Spedale was waiting with the ball when the ZHS runner began his slide. Next, Gabe Hannum reached on an infield hit that led to an error. First baseman Brock Batty retrieved the ball and threw out a Bronco runner at third to end the game.
The Broncos strung together three straight hits after Holstein, a right-hander, issued the game’s only walk with one out in the top of the first.
Myers’ single to right scored P.J. Cannon.
Holstein got out of the bases-loaded jam with a force out and a fly out. He didn’t give the heart of the Zachary batting order another chance to drive in runs and retired nine in a row in the middle innings.
“My fastball was my set-up pitch,” Holstein said. “Just throwing strikes was the big thing and then we had the big plays from Travis and Brock.”
Holstein reached on an error to lead off the fifth. Courtesy runner Beau Grasse was sacrificed to second and scored on a single by Matt Erwin to tie it.
“The error to start of the fifth inning hurt, and they wound up scoring a run off that,” Cassard said. “They didn’t have a baserunner until the fifth. Corey was as dominant as any high school pitcher you can find. It (stinks) that he gets the loss for this.”
Spedale led off the bottom of the sixth with a double for the Yellow Jackets and scored on Pourciau’s single that fell between ZHS’ drawn-in infield and the outfielders.
“That’s kind of how our games have been with Zachary the last few years,” Carroll said. “It’s real good and intense and they get after it. Not a lot of yahoo with the kids. They just play.”