SULPHUR — The underdogs are now the top dogs.
After rallying to win the final two games in a quarterfinal series and coming from behind in the semifinals, West Feliciana High took a different route on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
It was the Class 3A championship route.
The sixth-seeded Saints took the lead just before weather issues stopped play Saturday night and kept on hitting Sunday to claim a 6-2 victory over No. 4 South Beauregard in the 3A final that closed out the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA State Baseball tournament.
“They did have a reputation for hitting the ball,” title-game MVP Cody Trisler said. “I kept my fastball away and used the curveball to keep them off balance. I hit my locations.
“This feels great. When I got the first out in the seventh, it really hit me. Only two more outs and we’d be state champions. It’s so surreal.”
Trisler allowed six hits and struck out four for the Saints (29-7) in the game played at McMurry Park. He also provided what proved to be the game-winning hit with a two-RBI double that put WFHS up 2-1 just before the weather delay. Ross Bujol finished 3-for-3 with two runs for the winners.
West Feliciana won its second state title in as many weekends, following up a 3A boys track title with a baseball crown.
“We always want to keep our focus on the next pitch and not worry so much about the score,” Bujol said. “Even when we get ahead, we play like we’re behind. We don’t let up, and I think that helped.
“With the two titles, we’re putting West Feliciana out there for people to see. Those (track) guys were here cheering for us, and that meant a lot.”
Bailey Dennis was 1-for-2 with a run, and Cougar Morgan had an RBI hit for South Beauregard (27-8). Like WFHS, the Knights made their first tourney appearance.
“I’ve never had this feeling before as a coach, but I have as a player and it’s special,” first-year West Feliciana coach Gannon Achord said. “When I first got named the head coach, I told these seniors they could leave a legacy for this program, and they have.
“I didn’t swing a bat or make a play. They were the ones who bought in and worked all year for this.”
Before the Saturday night storm that forced the delay, there were some fireworks.
South Beauregard opened the scoring in the bottom of the second. Dennis singled, was sacrificed to second and scored on a single by Morgan.
But West Feliciana came right back to get three runs in the top of the third. Bujol was hit by a pitch and took second on a passed ball. A fielder’s choice put runners on first and second.
Trisler lashed a two-RBI double. Courtesy runner Kale Kirkland scored when Dylan Roark reached on an error. It initially looked like Roark might be called out for running out of the base path.
But the debate also involved removing the teams from the field. Lightning was seen behind both fields. The Class 5A final between Byrd-Barbe was halted at the same time.
The Saints picked up right where they left off when the game resumed by scoring three more runs in the top of the fourth. Will Cupit singled with one out, and courtesy runner Jake Maneri took second on Bujol’s single.
Hunter Gonzales walked to load the bases before. A force out brought one run home and an error on the same play led to another run. Gage Tygres then doubled to bring home the final WFHS run.
South Beauregard got one run back in the bottom of the fourth, but got no closer. Trisler retired nine of the final 10 batters he faced, allowing just one hit in the final three innings.
“They’re a great team … that’s a senior team,” South Beauregard coach Jeremy DeVille said. “We’ve got to give it to them, they played well.”
BARBE 5, BYRD 2: Barbe scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth to claim its third straight Class 5A state title also on Sunday. It was the ninth state title in baseball for the Lake Charles-based Bucs.
Winning pitcher Slate Fuller and Tyler Booth combined to limit Byrd (25-12) to seven hits. Fuller also had a two-RBI double for Barbe (35-6). Brogan McNease contributed an RBI hit for the winners.