DENHAM SPRINGS — With his team locked in a 6-all tie and the bases loaded Denham Springs’ Travis Swaggerty didn’t seem to mind the pressurized moment.
“Our team thrives off intensity in the dugout and at the plate,” Swaggerty said. “We do what we can to hit the baseball and score runs to come back in a game.”
Not only did Swaggerty’s two-run single snap a 6-all tie during a five-run sixth inning, but the South Alabama signee struck out the side in the seventh to preserve Denham Springs’ 9-6 rally Tuesday past East Ascension at A.B. Netterville Field.
“Back-and-forth games like that are fun,” said Swaggerty, who went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and collected the win in relief. “You want to do everything you can to come out on top. We put pressure on them, got runners on and got clutch hits when we needed to. Thankfully, I was the one to do it.”
There was plenty of high drama with the two teams trading leads in fifth and sixth innings.
East Ascension (6-9), which led 2-0 in the second on Austin McInnis’ RBI double and Ben Thompson’s sacrifice fly, erased Denham Springs’ 4-2 lead with four runs in the sixth. That included a pair of unearned runs when the Spartans made it 6-4 on Thompson’s RBI double to left, and Kade Waguespack scoring from third on a throwing error after a stolen base.
“I’m proud of the way my kids competed,” EAHS coach Britt Waguespack said. “Last year at that time we would have crumbled. Tonight, we competed against a good guy (Denham starter Taylor Higgins).”
DSHS (9-3) loaded the bases on an error, single by Tanner Magee 2-for-2) and walk, prompting EAHS to bring in its second reliever, Tristan Babin.
Babin got a grounder off the bat of Tristan Spedale, but third baseman Hayden Adams’ throw to the plate was wide, allowing Reese Pourciau to score.
The Yellow Jackets tied the game when courtesy runner Braden Doughty scored on a wild pitch and after a walk to Matt Erwin that reloaded the bases, Swaggerty drilled a 2-2 pitch to deep right and Bailey Holstein (2-4, triple, three RBIs) added an RBI-groundout to go with an earlier two-run triple in the fifth.
All five runs charged to relievers Brandon Foncree and Babin were unearned.
“We had our chances on the ground ball to third baseman, but he’s one foot off,” coach Waguespack said. “Hat’s off to them for battling back. That’s a good team.”
Swaggerty (2-0), who walked two in the sixth in relief of starter Taylor Higgins, mowed right through EA’s lineup with three straight swinging strikeouts to end the game.
“Both teams played really hard,” DSHS coach Mark Carroll said. “Britt’s club did a super job. I thought his kids came out and competed real hard and ours did also. For an early week, nondistrict game it was pretty intense.”