Sophomore righthander Luke Chain checked Oak Grove on four hits in a complete game effort as Bastrop salvaged a victory in its own tournament with a 6-1 result on St. Patrick's Day afternoon at Baron Ballpark.
Chain's performace was a valuable pick-me-up for a pitching staff which had surrendered 19 runs as the Rams dropped their previous two tournament games to Delhi Charter (10-7) and Grant (9-1).
Consistently ahead in the count, Chain struck out three, walked two and induced a dozen fly ball outs.
Chain and the Rams (7-6) got off to somewhat of a shaky start. Wyatt Morgan reached on a leadoff error and Cory Wiggins singled and scampered to second as the ball was mishanled in the outfield. However, Wiggins was trapped in a rundown for the first out after rounding the bag too far. Chain escaped the inning unscathed with a punchout and a groundout to first baseman Caleb McCready.
Bastrop gave Chain all the run support he would need with a trifecta in the home half of the first.
Four straight batters reached safely with one out. Ken Pates walked and Cade Cantrell was awarded first base after taking a pitch to the earhole of the batting helmet (he was not injured). Cleanup batter Chase Cockrell's opposite-field single to right chased Pates home with the first run of the game. Moments later, courtesy runner Damian Robinson scored on a wild pitch and Dita Ridgell guided an RBI single into right field for the third run of the inning.
Oak Grove reduced the margin to 3-1 in the second when Colby Ashley's two-out single plated Trey Auger, who drew a leadoff walk and swiped second.
Chain would not allow another runner past second base the rest of the way and closed out the game by retiring eight in a row.
Morgan Edmonds beat out a one-out bunt single and eventually scored on a wild pitch as the Rams upped their lead to 4-1 in the second.
Chain worked his way out of a potential jam in the fourth. Auger was safe on a misplay and Jamie Philley singled, leaving runners at first and second with nobody out. Chain fanned the next batter, before Cockrell, Ty Cantrell and McCready turned an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play.
Bastrop added two insurance runs in the fifth.
Ridgell drew a free pass and beat the throw to the plate on Ken Harris' double to deep left. Harris advanced to third on the throw home and completed the circuit on O'Shay Montgomery's base hit to left.
Batting from the No. 9 slot, Edmonds went 2-for-2 with a pair of infield singles and a walk to lead the Rams' seven-hit showing. Harris doubled for the only extra base hit of the game and Cockrell, Ridgell, Gavin Pollock and Montgomery singled.
Page 2 of 2 - Wiggins went 2-for-3 and Philley and Ashley singled for the Tigers.
Wiggins took the loss on the mound for the Tigers, before giving way to Martin with two outs in the fourth.
Bastrop opens District 2-4A play at Neville on Thursday at 6 p.m.
Notes: Bastrop catcher Cade Cantrell saved his brother an error in the third inning. With one out and a runner on first, second baseman Ty Cantrell gathered in a pop fly and made a desperate attempt to double off Martin at first base. Ty's toss was offline, but the hustling Cade was in perfect position to back up the throw. … The top three spots in the Rams' batting order were a collective 0-for-6 with four strikeouts, while the bottom six went 7-for-17. Still, it was a productive 0-for as the 1-3 batters reached base five times (three walks, a hit batsman and a catcher's interference) and scored twice. … Veteran umprie Ralph Ward worked the final five games of the tournament, including all four games (two behind the plate) Saturday. Ward was forced into extra duty when another umpire called due to car trouble.