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High school baseball: Glenbrook’s outstanding season ends with tough semifinal loss at state tournament

by Russell Hedges

A great season ended in disappointing fashion for the Glenbrook Apaches Tuesday at the Ochsner LHSAA Baseball State Tournament at McMurry Park in Sulphur.

Glenbrook, the No. 3 seed, fell to the No. 2 seed Ascension Catholic Bulldogs 4-1 in the semifinals of the select Division IV playoffs.

Glenbrook closed its season 24-9. Ascension Catholic (25-8) will play No. 1 Ouachita Christian, a 7-3 winner over No. 4 Opelousas Catholic, for the state championship, which is scheduled for Friday.

The game was the final one for six seniors who have meant a lot to Glenbrook’s program — Maddox Mandino, Hayden Harmon, Turner McLelland, Cason Clemons, Toby Haulmark and Rhett Turner.

Glenbrook won an MAIS state championship in 2021 and made the transition to the LHSAA in 2022. This season, the seniors helped the Apaches reach the state tournament in the program’s first year of eligibility for the playoffs.

Tuesday’s game started two hours later than it was supposed to. Inclement weather caused the 11 a.m. games to be delayed, pushing back the start of the 2 o’clock games.

Then there was a delay of about two hours starting about 5:30 when another thunderstorm rolled through.

At that time, Glenbrook trailed 2-1 with one out in the top of the fifth and Ascension Catholic at bat. When play resumed, the Bulldogs scored two runs with two outs in their half of the inning to take a 4-1 lead.

Glenbrook loaded the bases with one out in the seventh, but Ascension Catholic reliever Brooks Leonard got a strikeout and groundout to end the game.

It was a very frustrating day offensively for the Apaches. Missed opportunities were costly.

Glenbrook left runners stranded in scoring position in every inning.

The Apaches had seven hits, one more than the Bulldogs. They also drew seven walks and had two batters hit by pitches.

Mandino and Garrett Brown both went 2-for-3 with a double each. McLelland, Jackson Waller and Harmon had one single apiece.

Glenbrook starter Easton Sanders pitched a solid 3 1/3 inning. He allowed four hits, struck out seven and walked one.

After giving up a run on a one-out double in the fourth, he gave way to Harmon, who pitched complete games in the first two playoff victories.

Harmon promptly squelched any notion of a Bulldogs rally with back-to-back strikeouts.

Harmon allowed two hits in 1 2/3 innings. Mandino entered the game in the sixth with a runner at first and no outs. He didn’t allow a hit and struck out two of the three batters he faced.

Ascension Catholic starter Bryce Leonard went six innings. He gave up all seven hits, walked five and struck out six.

Glenbrook got off to a good start.

Mandino, the game’s first batter, smacked a double to center field. He advanced to third on a Cason Clemons’ groundout. After Sanders drew a walk, Mandino scored on a sacrifice fly by McLelland. 

Garrett Brown then doubled down the left-field line, putting runners at second and third with two outs. But Bryce Leonard induced a groundout.

Ascension Catholic tied it with a run in the bottom of the inning. Bryce Leonard drew a one-out walk, stole second and scored on a double by Jackson Landry with the count full.

Sanders got the Apaches out of the inning with consecutive strikeouts.

In the fifth, the Apaches got the second out when the teams came back from the weather delay. But the Bulldogs took advantage of two singles, a hit-by-pitch and a wild pitch to score the last two runs.

Besides the seventh, Glenbrook also left the bases loaded in the third. They also left runners at third in the first and sixth. A runner also reached third in the fifth.

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