SULPHUR — All the pieces seemed to be in place for second-seeded Doyle to get its storybook ending. The Tigers raced out to a 4-0 lead in the Class 2A title game that closed out Monday’s action at the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Baseball tournament.
Fifth-seeded Kinder was the team that finished, however.
Led by title-game MVP Michael Fontenot and freshman reliever Brooks Fawcett, the Yellow Jackets exploded for eight third-running runs on the way to an 11-4 victory over Doyle at McMurry Park.
“When we jumped out there I thought, ‘Man this is going good,’ ” Doyle coach Tim Beatty said. “We started to settle in. Any time you have a bad inning, it is going to be tough to overcome. Our guys competed, but when you’re pitching from behind a lot and walking so guys, you can’t stay away from the big inning.”
The Tigers (29-12) used five pitchers in what their first title-game appearance since 2001 as a Class B school. The most consistent pitcher of the night was Fawcett, who started the game as the designed hitter for Kinder (20-15).
Fawcett came on with one out in the second inning and shut down the then-steady flow of offense for Doyle. Fawcett gave up just three hits, struck out two and walked none in 5⅔ innings.
Fontenot committed a first-inning error at third base that allowed two Doyle runs to cross the plate. But he made up for it in a big way, going 3-for-4 with a two-run home run and five RBIs, four of which came in the third inning. Fawcett also was 3-for-5.
But there was a promising start for Doyle. The Tigers got to Kinder starter Gavin Chavillier early. Mason Davis was hit by a pitch to start the game and moved to second on wild pitch before scoring on a single by Cade Watts, who later scored on a ground out.
The Yellow Jackets went to their bullpen with one out in the bottom of the second. Starting pitcher Brock Adams doubled to lead off the second for Doyle. Two runs scored on an error and the Tigers led 4-0.
Things fell apart in the marathon top of the third as Kinder sent 13 batters to the plate. The Yellow Jackets have a reputation for being a fastball-hitting team and they backed it up with 12 hits, several courtesy of fastballs that five Doyle pitchers had to put in the strike zone after falling behind in the count.
Fontenot’s two-run homer jump-started the third inning for the Yellow Jackets. Three other players contributed RBIs before Kinder batted around, giving Fontenot the chance to add two-RBI single.
Fawcett threw strikes and used his defense that made just one more error over the final six innings.
Doyle’s Beatty lauded the contributions of his seniors and pondered the future since his lineup will return five players who started as sophomores this spring.
One of those seniors, Davis, expects the Tigers to use the loss to provide the proper vision for a 2020 title run.
“I think everybody knows how bad it hurts to lose this game now,” Davis said. “They can make it here next year and make a serious push for a title. I don’t think they will let this happen again.”