West Feliciana’s baseball team gave itself the opportunity to stand alone from any other in school history.
Now, the Saints need a little help from league rival Parkview Baptist before it can stand and take a bow.
West Feliciana positioned itself to win at least a share of the program’s first district championship, pulling away Thursday for a 6-1 District 6-3A victory over University High in a game shortened to six innings because of inclement weather.
“We told our guys that to the best of our knowledge West Feliciana has never won a district championship,” West Feliciana first-year coach Gannon Achord said. “That was the motivation going in. We told them if we won here that puts some pressure on Brusly, and we could end up as co-district champs.”
The other part of the equation for West Feliciana (22-6, 8-2) is to have Parkview Baptist defeat league-leading Brusly (30-3, 8-1). The Eagles resume play at 4:30 p.m. Friday leading the Panthers 2-0 in the top of the fourth with the bases loaded.
“We’re fortunate we’re in the playoffs,” U-High coach Justin Morgan said. “It doesn’t matter what seed or how you get in, but everybody’s got a shot at it.”
Winning pitcher Jared Sturgeon (6-3) made his first start in several weeks a very promising one, limiting University to three hits. The 6-foot-3 right-hander struck out three and retired 12 of the final 14 batters, only suffering a pair of hit batters over that span.
“I knew he (Achord) put confidence in me to start, and I knew that I had to do well,” said Sturgeon, who threw 47 of 63 pitches for strikes. “I knew my team would have my back and we would prevail in this game.”
The game was tied at 1 after two innings. West Feliciana’s Gage Tygres drove in a run with an RBI-single up the middle, and U-High’s Peyton Bonnette scored Fox Vidrine in from third on a safety squeeze.
West Feliciana took a 2-1 lead on a double-play, ground-ball in the fourth against U-High reliever Khristian Paul before breaking out the big bats an inning later.
No. 9 hitter Will Cupit ignited a four-run inning with a lead-off homer to left, and after a pair of walks, U-High (19-12, 6-4) had the opportunity to get out of the inning down by two runs.
However, Cody Trisler’s fly ball in foul territory with two outs was dropped and on Paul’s next pitch — a 0-2 pitch — Trisler put the game away with a three-run homer to left.
“That’s why we’re glad to play good teams,” Morgan said. “This gives you the feedback that you can’t drop a foul ball. You’ve got to make those plays. They made us pay for our mistakes and they swing the bats well.”