LAKE CHARLES — Barbe High School freshman pitcher Adam Goree sucked the life out of Catholic-Baton Rouge’s last gasp effort to win back-to-back state titles.
The Bears loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh inning, but Goree struck out Clay Moffitt on three pitches, lifting top-seeded Barbe to a 3-2 win over No. 9 Catholic on Saturday and a two-game sweep of a quarterfinal series in the Class 5A state baseball playoffs.
Barbe (37-2) won the first game of the series 11-6 on Friday.
“What these seniors and this baseball team was able to accomplish was pretty remarkable,” Catholic coach Brad Bass said. “To win a state championship, win over 50 games in two years, but more importantly to have the opportunity to coach such men of character has been just such a blessing for me.”
Barbe, ranked No. 1 in the nation in a MaxPreps poll and a Baseball America poll, advances to play either No. 5 St. Amant, which defeated No. 13 Dutchtown in two games.
Catholic (26-13) left 10 baserunners stranded, leaving the bases loaded in the first and seventh innings.
The top of the order was up in the seventh, but the first two batters grounded out. After Hunter D’Armond hit a single, Goree hit back-to-back batters, loading the bases before striking out Moffitt, who was in his first at-bat.
“I thought these kids played their hearts out,” Bass said. “That’s what they do, they show up every day, they look to go get in a fight with somebody and that’s what they did and I’m so proud to be the head coach of this baseball team.”
Barbe also left the bases loaded in the top of the inning, when Catholic turned a double play.
Nick Coomes provided both of Catholic’s runs on a two-run homer over the left-field wall in the fifth inning. Coomes was 3-for-4, with two doubles.
“Our team didn’t slack off, we gave it our best,” Coomes said. “It’s disappointing, but I hope Barbe comes out on top. They deserve it, they’re a great team.”
D’Armond was 2-for-2.
Barbe, which was led by Gunner Leger and Braden Comeaux’s two singles apiece, played small ball to score its runs in the third inning. Comeaux scored on a squeeze play, Beau Jordan scored on his twin Bryce Jordan’s sacrifice bunt and Bryce Jordan scored on Braedon Barrett’s bunt single.
“We found that (Catholic) wasn’t that good on the bunt, so we kept doing it,” Barbe coach Glenn Cecchini said. “They ended up playing so far in that it took the bunt away from us, and that was good coaching on their part. It is a chess match out there.”
“They’re good at what they do,” Bass said. “They create offensive pressure and try to wait for you to make mistakes.”
Both Goree (11-0) and Catholic starter Ross Massey (7-3) pitched complete games. Goree gave up seven hits and struck out three. Massey gave up seven hits and struck out five.