ZACHARY — A moment of dread flooded over PJ Cannon as he instantly realized his mistake.
With the score tied 2-2 in the bottom of the seventh and the bases loaded with one out, Zachary High School baseball coach Jesse Cassard signaled Cannon to run a suicide squeeze from third base, so he started to take a large lead off the bag.
Dutchtown closer Caleb Ricca took notice.
“I wasn’t really expecting them to try to pick (me) off, so I start running down the line,” Cannon said. “The next thing I know, he’s picking me off and I have to just keep going.
“I just kicked it into overdrive. I had to score.”
With Dutchtown third baseman Cameron Crawford gaining on him, Cannon dove head first at home plate.
The next thing Cannon knew, his teammates were piling on top of him as the ball slowly rolled away from Cameron’s glove.
The Broncos (11-7) pulled off the come-from-behind 3-2 win over the Griffins (12-5) on Tuesday night after being down 2-0 as late as the fifth inning.
“We just kept telling the guys to stay up and grind out at bats,” Cassard said. “They never got down. They stayed even keel.”
Zachary’s comeback had been slowly building over the previous two innings after going down early in the game.
Both coaches said the turning point was most likely in the top of the fifth when Zachary sophomore River Town made a spectacular throw from deep left field to pick off Connor McCrory at the plate and prevent Dutchtown from extending its lead to 3-0.
The Broncos finally got on the board in the next half-inning when first baseman Hunter David laid a sacrifice ground ball to the shortstop that gave Grant Quinn enough room to score from third.
Town would again shut down the Griffins’ bid for a third run in the seventh inning on an almost identical play that caught Crawford trying to take home.
“It was just refusing to lose,” Town said. “I knew I had a chance, they were running hard and it was going to be a close play, but I had to risk it all.”
Cassard was particularly impressed by the fact that Joey Blanchard — the catcher on both plays — hadn’t played the position all season and was only there because usual catcher, freshman Alex Milazzo, was hit in the face by a pitch in the second inning, forcing a 30-minute delay as he received medical attention.
Both Cannon and Town dedicated the win to Milazzo.
Dutchtown coach Chris Schexnaydre said the Griffins didn’t lose the game on the final play, but rather in the earlier innings when they left runners on base.
Dutchtown left 11 runners on, including at least one in each inning. Dutchtown out-hit Zachary 10-6.
Ricca was awarded the loss, while Zachary’s Rhett Hebert earned the win. Both pitchers only threw in the final inning.
“We didn’t execute some opportunities to move some runners, and against a very good baseball team, those situations are going to come back and bite you,” Schexnaydre said. “We had a chance to stretch the lead and we didn’t execute.”