South Lafourche’s well-known arms and bats got the team in position to reach the Class 4A State Quarterfinals this past weekend against Riverdale.
But it was a pair of unknown legs that ultimately was the difference in the team punching its ticket and making it to the next round.
With the score tied at 8 in the bottom of the seventh inning of Saturday’s decisive, winner-take-all game between the No. 4 Tarpons and No. 13 Rebels, South Lafourche got its leadoff man aboard.
Coach Andrew Ravaglia then unleashed his late-game secret weapon – pinch runner Jake Galjour.
Galjour stole second base, then advanced to third on a wild pitch and stole home on a passed ball, which clinched the series in a 9-8 Tarpons win.
The Tarpons dogpiled Galjour at home plate – the continuation of a storied ride for a team that had not ever won a playoff game prior to this season.
“I am just so proud of the kids,” Ravaglia said after the series win. “They never let up. We didn’t always play our best. We had to fight back from adversity. But we did what we had to do to win.”
The series was unbelievably dramatic.
On Friday night, the Tarpons won the first game by a 2-1 score, thanks to the powerful arm of senior Kasey Guidry.
Guidry allowed just one run in seven innings for the Tarpons, which sent the game to the bottom of the seventh tied at 1.
In that inning, the Tarpons attacked and had the bases loaded with no one out with Guidry at the plate. He delivered the final blow – a solid base hit to right field, which sealed the win and put the Tarpons up 1-0 in the best of three series.
But Riverdale had plenty left in the tank.
After the heartbreaking loss on Friday, the Rebels competed like heck on Saturday, evening the series with a 2-1 win on Saturday afternoon in the first game of a Saturday doubleheader.
Left-handed pitcher Rensuke Higashihama was dominant for the Rebels in the game, tossing a complete-game, using four and sometimes five pitches to keep South Lafourche’s hitters off balance.
Higashihama’s outing needed to be good because South Lafourche senior lefty Blake Ougel was brilliant, as well, allowing just two sacrifice flies in the game – his second loss of the season.
After a 45-minute pause to reset lineups, South Lafourche and Riverdale faced off again on Saturday in game three – a winner-take-all battle for the spot in the Quarterfinals.
Higashihama started game three for Riverdale, but after throwing 91 pitches earlier in the afternoon, he was not as effective, allowing two runs in the first inning to allow the Tarpons to take a 2-0 lead – an advantage they extended to 3-0 in the second inning.
But the Rebels weren’t done. Every time South Lafourche made a surge, the Rebels answered. They erased the Tarpons 3-0 lead with three runs of their own off senior pitcher Beau Callais, tying the game at 3.
Callais was gutsy on the mound for South Lafourche. Plagued by errors and seeing-eye singles, he worked through five innings and gave the Tarpons an 8-6 lead into the sixth inning.
But again, Riverdale came back. The Rebels scored two runs off senior closer Austin Cantrelle in the seventh inning, which tied the score at 8 – a score which held into the seventh inning.
That’s when Ravaglia called on senior Mark Pitre to pitch and he worked a beautiful seventh inning, getting the team to his offense with a chance to win.
First Ougel singled to right field.
Galjour ran for Ougel and stood on first base until he stole second.
Then Pitre walked, which set up runners at first and second with no outs.
Then, Rebels pitcher Alan Castro lost his command. With Jelby Cheramie at the plate, he unleashed a wild pitch, which moved Galjour to third base. A few pitches later, he delivered another, which plated Galjour and sent the Tarpon Nation into a frenzy – the final blow in a 9-8 win.
With the win, South Lafourche will host No. 5 West Ouachita in the Quarterfinals – another best of three series.
The first game will be at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.
On Saturday, the teams will meet at noon and if a game three is necessary, they’ll play at 3.
TROJANS FALL IN TOUGH SERIES
Like the Tarpons, Central Lafourche was playing a second-round series this past weekend.
Unfortunately, the Trojans didn’t have quite the same luck that the boys from down the bayou did.
No. 16 Central Lafourche fell in consecutive games to No. 1 Zachary, falling 12-2 on Friday, then 13-2 on Saturday to fall out of the Class 5A State Playoffs.
Zachary is the No. 1 team in Louisiana and a lot of people’s picks to be the No. 1 team in the country and they showed their teeth throughout the series with timely offense, elite pitching and effective defense.
The Trojans competed, but didn’t have enough firepower, ending their season on the road.
Posted on Tue, May 1, 2018
by Casey Gisclair Gazette Sports Reporter