CENTRAL — After losing the first game of Friday’s doubleheader 5-4 on a single in extra innings, the Silliman Institute baseball team was determined not to go home empty-handed for the day.
And while Central Private was still riding high from its win, Wildcats pitcher Beau Lockhart was focusing on the second game.
It’s a good thing for Silliman (14-7, 8-2) that he was because Lockhart struck out 11 batters on the way to a 5-0 win.
“It was nice, and it was a good group win,” Lockhart said. “We needed win to get a good spot in the playoffs, maybe have a couple of home games. It was nice. It was a good overall team win.”
Lockhart (4-0) only got better as the night went on, retiring 13 of 14 batters to end the game. The only batter to reach base safely was on a throwing error by the third baseman in the seventh inning.
The freshman lefty went the distance, allowing no runs on three hits and no walks on 86 pitches. His 11 strikeouts were the most for him in a single game this season.
The win also clinches Silliman’s berth in the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools playoffs.
If the Wildcats had won both games Friday, they would have also given the reigning MAIS state champions the district title.
“I think it showed a lot of heart on the part of my guys to come back and answer,” Silliman coach John Beauchamp said. “(The first game) was kind of a letdown and it put some pressure on us that we hadn’t had lately, so this was a big win.”
After finishing the first game with six straight innings of being shut out, Silliman made sure to jump on the scoreboard early in the second game.
The Wildcats scored three runs in the second inning with two runs coming off RBI singles by third baseman Tre Berthelot and left fielder J.D. Cook. The third run was scored on a wild pitch from Central Private starting pitcher Eli Ramos.
Central Private coach Daniel Jewett said he didn’t think the Rebels (13-8, 7-2) suffered from an emotional letdown after the first game, but they did lack intensity as the day progressed.
It didn’t help that Lockhart consistently kept the Rebels hitters off balance, Jewett said.
The loss is the second time this week Silliman shut out Central Private.
“I thought we would come out after that first game, winning the way that we did, I thought we would come out with a lot more intensity,” Jewett said. “I’m not sure what the difference between game one and game two was for us, but we just didn’t have the intensity. It didn’t seem like we were focused in the game.”
Central Private left fielder Jude Fontenot hit the winning single in the first game to score Dylan Iueli from third.