Instant Classic! Weston “walks off” Quitman to square season series

In retrospect, it is only fitting that a contest between two longtime rivals  like Weston and Quitman would play out as it did this past Wednesday. In the end, the score was 6-5 in Weston’s favor, giving the Wolves a split of their season series with their cross-parish rival and district 1B foe. With the victory, Weston evened their season record to 11-11 while Quitman fell to 7-11 overall. Both are now tied for the district 1B lead with a 3-1 record.

Sometimes a score says it all. In this case, it hardly scratches the surface. As it was a one-run game, surely it must have been a good one to watch, coach, or play in. Right? Unless you were there, you have no idea. If you weren’t, well…. you missed the game of the year.

Ever heard of the kind of game where you walk away thinking it was a shame someone had to lose? This was that game.

“Wow! That was a good game. Both teams had ups and downs but kept competing and never let up. It could have gone either way down the stretch. Those last two innings were very intense and had a playoff atmosphere to them,” said winning WHS skipper Joey Kemp. “I am happy for our guys and our fans that we came out on top.”

Kemp was not only glad his team stayed in the hunt for the district 1B championship but also was pleased with how the Wolves responded after the loss on Monday.

“I was very pleased with how we handled that loss. I thought the guys showed a lot of character by flushing it and focusing their attention on what was ahead,” reflected Kemp. “We are continuing to learn how to compete in tight games and not let mistakes affect the way we move forward. We still have a way to go but they are starting to get it.”

Quitman head coach Joe Lockhart echoed many of the same sentiments.

“That was a fun game to be a part of and had to be a good one to watch. We are a lot alike in that we both have talented players who never quit, which is why especially the last couple of years our games have been great,” said Lockhart.

“Weston played well, and we did also. In the end, they scored one more run than us and deserved to win. Sure, we would have liked to have come out on top, but I am proud of the way the guys battled,” continued Lockhart. “You have to learn to play clean and fight through adversity and I think both of our teams have gotten better at this by playing the strong schedules that Coach Kemp and I throw at our players.”

Time and again both squads stepped up to convert in critical situations, especially over the last three innings, as several players turned in impressive clutch performances. None, however, provided the climatic finishing touches to this high school version of an INSTANT CLASSIC than Cooper Delaney’s greatest single moment of success in his young and blossoming career.

To the stage, Quitman was trailing 5-4 in the top of the seventh. It looked bleak for the Wolverines as Weston quickly got two outs and Blake Carter was down to his last strike before hitting an infield single to keep hope alive. Riley Duck, who had already doubled once in the contest to help Quitman rally from a four-run deficit to tie the score in the fifth inning, came up clutch again by stroking a shot to center field. Taking off on contact, Carter hustled all the way around to beat the throw to the plate. Duck, who had hit his second double of the day and third RBI, smartly advanced to third on the throw home but Tait Henderson, who went the distance to claim the victory, ended the threat by coaxing a fly out to left.

As fate would have it, Henderson was first up for the Wolves in the bottom half of the final frame and after taking two strikes reached first on an infield single, his third hit of the day. A passed ball allowed Henderson to move up to second. That brought up Delaney, who wasted no time in playing the part of the hero. On the first pitch he saw, Delaney lined a single to centerfield that plated Henderson and gave the Wolves the thrilling “walk-off” 6-5 victory.

Early on it looked like Weston would have a “walk in the park” as the Wolves scored two in the bottom of the first after just five pitches. Colton Blundell took a ball and then smashed a double to center followed by Bryce Zehr bunting for a single on the first pitch. With Tait Henderson at the plate both runners advanced on a passed ball and then Blundell scored and Zehr went to third on a balk. A groundout then scored Zehr. The lead ballooned to 4-0 in the bottom of the third when Henderson singled to open the frame and then scored when Braden Theriot jacked his second home run of the year, a two-out, blast over the left field fence that chased Quitman starter, Ian Tilley.

Quitman finally got their offense going in the top of the fifth. Logan Ponder coaxed a walk off of Henderson, followed by singles from Cam Deal and Carter that loaded the bases. Duck then drove in two with a double to center and Ian Tilley singled to narrow the margin to 4-3. Henderson then picked off Tilley at first, but the heads-up Duck stole home on the play to tie the game.

Knuckleballer Hayden Davis had held Weston in check after coming in relief in the fourth inning but Weston finally timed the tricky offerings to retake the lead at 5-4 in the bottom of the sixty. Drew Browning singled to open the inning and advanced to third on consecutive ground outs. Colton Blundell then produced his “shining moment” of the game by hitting a grounder up the middle to give Weston the lead setting the stage for the fantastic final frame finish.

Weston finished with 12 hits on the day, led by three from Henderson, who also scored twice, stole a base, and had an RBI. Blundell also reached base three times via a double, single, and a walk while scoring a run and knocking one in. Delaney (RBI) and Browning (RS) got two singles each, with Theriot (HR, 2RBI RS), Zehr (RS) and Sawyer Watkins connecting once each. Jacob Gill also coaxed a walk.

Duck led Quitman with three hits, highlighted by the pair of doubles that drove in three and scored twice, including the steal of home. Carter chipped in with two hits and two runs scored with Deal (RS), claiming Quitman’s sixth hit of the game with a single. Logan Ponder walked and scored a run, Tilley had an RBI, Kace West walked twice and Hudson Pullig got hit by a pitch to round out the Wolverine’s attack.

TEAM 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Quitman (7-11, 3-1) 0 0 0 0 4 0 1 5 6 0
Weston (11-11, 3-1 2 0 2 0 0 1 1 6 12 2
WP – Henderson (5-1), LP – Ponder (1-3)
2B – Duck (QHS) 2, Blundell (WHS)
HR – Theriot
RBI – Duck (QHS) 3, Theriot (WHS) 2, Henderson (WHS), Delaney (WHS), Tilley (QHS)
RS – Henderson (WHS) 2, Carter (QHS) 2, Zehr (WHS), Theriot (WHS), Browning (WHS), Ponder (QHS), Deal (QHS), Duck (QHS)
SB – Duck (QHS), Henderson (QHS)

Weston clobbers Calvin

If you follow Weston baseball you are already familiar with Colton Blundell. If you are not, the freshman has shown great potential to be a sure enough, game-changing, star one day. That day was Thursday!

The potential became reality as Blundell exploded for a career-high day offensively to lead Weston to a 17-4 whipping of Calvin by stroking two doubles and his second home run of the year to drive in five runs. He also stole two bases and scored two runs himself. Great day, right? That is only half the introductory resume into stardom.
Blundell also came on in relief with nobody out and two runners on in the bottom of the second and limited the Cougars to just three hits and two earned runs the rest of the way while striking out six to earn his first career victory on the mound.

Fellow freshman, Cole Tolar, also  had a great day at the plate as well setting new career highs with four hits and four RBI that raised his batting average an impressive 40 points, going from .275 to .315 on the year. Braden Theriot chipped in with three RBI, two runs scored, and a stolen base with Cooper Delaney stroking a double, earning a walk, scoring twice, and stealing two bases.

Also contributing to the scoring fest was Tait Henderson, who drew two walks, scored twice, and stole two of the eleven bases Weston swiped in the contest. Sawyer Watkins reached base twice, scored a run, and stole a base as did Bryce Zehr, who added an additional theft. Blaine Graham also reached base twice and scored a pair of runs. Drew Williams scored three runs and stole a base and both Jacob Gill and Kypton Caskey added a run. Layton Garrett had a hit and two RBI as well.

The victory improved the Wolves record to 12-11, vaulting Weston’s record over the .500 mark for the first time since the third game of the season. Calvin saw their three-game winning streak snapped and fell to 7-5 on the year.

TEAM 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Weston (12-11) 0 0 3 2 1 6 5 17 12 1
Calvin (7-5) 0 1 0 0 2 0 1 4 3 4
WP – Blundell (1-2), LP – Camp
2B – Blundell 2, Delaney
HR – Blundell
RBI – Blundell 5, Tolar 4, Theriot 3, Garrett 2, Watkins
RS – Williams 3, Blundell 2, Henderson 2, Delaney 2, Theriot 2, Graham 2, Zehr, Gill, Caskey, Watkins

JHHS takes district 3-2A victory over Lakeview

Trey Trosclair knocked in a career high five runs and AJ Tew struck out a career best 10 Lakeview batters as JHHS scored a season best to win their first district contest since the 2018-19 season. The much needed victory that broke a four game losing streak vaults J-H into an early tie for the District 3-2A lead with a 1-0 record and improves the Tigers record to 3-8 overall. 

After spotting Lakeview to an early 1-0 lead, the Tigers exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the second and scored four more in the fourth to blow the game open.  JHHS ended up with 19 batters reaching base that included 12 hits, six walks and two that reached after getting hit by pitches. 

Trosclair (5RBI, 2B, RS), Marquis Baker (3RS, SB), and Jaden Qualls (2RS, SB) led the way by getting on base three times each followed closely by Waylon Evans (2B, 2RBI, RS, SB), AJ Tew (RS, RBI), Duke Tew (2RS), Peter Ulloa (RS, RBI) and Dakota Knox (2RBI, RS). Alfonzo Calahan also had a hit, scored a run, drove one in and stole a base. 

TEAM 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
Lakeview (0-13, 0-1) 1 0 1 0 1 0 2 5 9 0
JHHS (3-8, 1-0) 0 7 1 4 0 0 0 12 11 2
WP – AJ Tew (3-2), LP – Coleman
2B – Trosclair, Evans
RBI – Trosclair 5, Evans 2, Knox 2, AJ Tew, Calahan, Ulloa
RS – Baker 3, Qualls 2, D. Tew 2, Trosclair, AJ Tew, Calahan, Ulloa, Knox
SB – Calahan, Qualls, Baker, Evans

Wolverines no match for Sterlington

Sterlington, the fourth ranked team in Division III among “non-select” schools, exploded for 8 runs in the second inning and jumped out to a 12-0 lead on their way to the 17-3 victory. Logan Ponder, Blake Carter and Hudson Pullig, who hit a doublr for the Wolverines only extra base hit, all got a hit and knocked in a run. Riley Duck and Ian Tilley also got a hit, while Kace West and Pete Simonelli scored a run each. With the loss Quitman falls to 7-12 overall while Sterlington, won for the 7th straight time and 10th in the last 11 games to improve to 16-8 on the year.

TEAM 1 2 3 4 5 R H E
Quitman (7-12) 0 0 0 1 2 3 5 1
Sterlington (16-8) 3 8 1 5 x 17 17 1
WP – Downs, LP – Hasley (1-1)
2B – Pullig
RBI – Ponder, Carter, Pullig
RS – Carter, West, Simonelli

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