Bastrop 2, Ouachita 1
Riding the three-hit pitching of Chase Cockrell, Bastrop nipped Ouachita 2-1 in the regular season finale at Baron Ballpark.
After dropping two of three to District 2-4A foe Franklin Parish over the weekend, Monday night's game gave the Rams a chance to end the regular campaign on a positive note.
"When they decide they want to play, they can compete with anybody on our schedule," Bastrop coach Whit Whtilock said of the Rams. "When everybody plays together, it just clicks. Somebody makes a great play and it's contagious."
Unfortunately for the maddeningly inconsistent Rams (12-18), those type of games haven't been the norm. Still, Monday's victory over a Class 5A ballclub can't hurt the Rams' confidence going into the playoffs.
"The difference between a great team and an average team is playing with consistency every day," Whitlock said. "When we play like we're capable of playing, we can play with anybody in 4A."
Bastrop will receive word of its first-round playoff destination when the LHSAA releases the brackets around noon Tuesday. The Rams, who expect to be seeded in the mid-to-upper 20s, will travel for a first-round game later this week.
Against Ouachita, Cockrell gave up two hits in the first inning — a leadoff single by Hunter Johnson and a two-out base hit by Andrew Skerlong — but both runners were caught stealing by Bastrop catcher Gavin Pollock.
Cockrell retired eight straight before walking Skerlong — his only free pass of the game — and did not allow a runner past first base until the fifth.
By then, the Rams were up 2-0.
Morgan Edmonds singled with one down in the second, pulled in at third on Jordan Jones' double and scored on Khalil Key's groundout.
Pollock opened the third with a base hit, Ty Cantrell was hit by a pitch and Cockrell hit into a force play, leaving runners at the corners. Kyle Perkins' infield single plated Pollock with what proved to be the decisive run.
Garrett Heath singled to start the Ouachita fifth and moved into scoring position on Thomas Soileau's sacrifice bunt, but could advance no further.
Capitalizing on a pair of errors, the Lions spoiled Cockrell's shutout bid in the sixth.
Hunter Jolley reached on a leadoff fielding error. Johnson, representing the top of the batting order, then hit into a force play for the first out. Next up, Mitch Campbell was safe on a throwing error, putting the tying run aboard. Skerlong followed with an RBI groundout, before Key made a long, running catch in shallow left field for the final out.
Perkins loosened up as the Rams batted in the bottom of the sixth, but Cockrell, who lost a hard-luck 2-1 decision to Franklin Parish on Saturday, had no intentions of leaving the mound.
"I asked Chase if he wanted me to let Kyle pitch the seventh, but he wanted to finish," Whitlock said. "It meant something to him."
Finishing up strong, Cockrell closed out the game with a 1-2-3 seventh. Edmonds made a diving catch in center field for the first out. Taking care of the final two outs himself, Cockrell induced a groundout back to the mound, followed by a game-ending punchout.
Cockrell struck out two and recorded 10 ground ball outs in the 100-pitch effort.
Jones' second-inning double was the only extra base hit of the night for either team. Pollock, Perkins and Edmonds singled for the Rams.
Johnson, Skerlong and Heath had base hits for the Lions (10-23).
Soileau, who struck out three and walked one while holding the Rams hitless over the final three innings, pitched admirably in defeat.