The Dunham School had been chasing Northlake Christian and its starting pitcher Sean Tweedy all game long.
An inning after pulling even and getting Tweedy out of the game in the bottom of the sixth the Tigers weren’t able to enjoy the first shift in momentum for very long.
Shortstop-turned-pitcher Maverick Latour drilled reliever Ben Marmande’s first pitch into the right-center field gap for the go-ahead run in the seventh and the senior closed out No. 22 seed Dunham for a 5-4 victory Wednesday in a Class 2A state regional playoff game.
“We gave up the run but we just got through playing nine innings at Lakeside,” Dunham coach Joey Thibodeaux said of a first-round 3-1 win. “I didn’t doubt we wouldn’t fight until the bitter end and we did. It just didn’t happen for us.”
Dunham (18-15) trailed throughout, falling behind 2-0 after two innings and 4-1 through four.
The Tigers took advantage of an error in the sixth to get back into contention. Designated hitter Nick Brooks (2-for-3) singled with Alec Duhe aboard and both runners scored on Jon-Austin Volland’s triple to right-center.
Catcher Tyler Price maintained the momentum with a run-scoring single up the middle to make it 4-all and watched Latour take over for Tweedy after 115 pitches.
Dunham had seven hits off Tweedy, who allowed four runs (one earned), two walks and struck out eight times.
“He battled the entire game but you’ve got to tip your hat to Dunham,” Northlake coach Chad Catalano said. “They never stopped fighting and were still aggressive with the sticks and came up big in the sixth. We thought it was time to make that move with Maverick.”
Ruston West’s one-out single to left awakened a Northlake offense, which hadn’t recorded a hit since the second inning. Latour followed with his double but was later erased in a double play to end the inning when the Tigers snuffed out a suicide squeeze attempt.
Latour retired all four batters he faced, including getting the final batters — Reid May and Duhe — looking at strikes to send Northlake (23-10) to its first state quarterfinal in four years against Oak Grove.
Northlake took advantage of an error and hit by pitch to set the table for Tweedy’s run-scoring single.
The Wolverines also benefitted from early control issues from Duhe, who allowed consecutive two-out walks and Logan Stevens’ RBI-single.
Duhe allowed two hits and managed to work around four walks and four hit batsmen to shut down Northlake during his 5.1 innings of work.
Dunham got its first hit and initial run in the fourth on Duhe’s double and his courtesy runner — Quincy Moreaux — scored on Volland’s single.
“These last two ball games for us, I couldn’t be prouder of a group of guys than I am of them,” Thibodeaux said. “To go into the playoffs like we were (having lost five of their last eight games) and we played two great games. You’d like to win them all but you want to play well doing it. I’m proud of what we did.”