SIBLEY – The prep baseball regular season came to a wild conclusion Saturday in Webster Parish with a rivalry bout between Lakeside and Minden at Warrior Field.
The Crimson Tide trailed the Warriors 3-2 in the seventh inning, but Minden, who has been on the wrong end of late comebacks all season, strung together a trio of clutch hits and benefited from a bases-loaded balk call and two batters being hit-by-pitch to surge past their parish counterparts 6-3.
It was a classic battle between the familiar foes, decided in the final inning in come-from-behind fashion; just the way it’s supposed be, unless you’re on the losing end.
The Warriors led 1-0 after one inning on Colton Carter’s RBI single, scoring Dalton Crumpler who reached on a hit-by-pitch. Minden tied the game at 1-1 in the third inning via sac-fly by Cameron Dollar to score Jalien Moore.
Gavin Jones doubled in Jayke Stewart for another Lakeside RBI and Dalton Crumpler delivered an RBI single of his own during a two-run fourth inning for the Warriors that saw them take a 3-1 lead that would not last.
Minden chipped away with one run in the fifth inning when Dollar singled in Mandino for his second RBI of the afternoon, bringing the score to 3-2
Lakeside walked back-to-back batters to begin Minden’s half of the seventh. Then, Moore was plunked with a fastball, loading the bases.
Jake Gray, who had just come on to pitch for Lakeside in a save situation, then balked in a runner from third, making the score 3-3 and moving the runners to third and second.
A passed ball brought Greg Herman in as Minden took a 4-3 lead; the Tide went up 5-3 in the same inning when Rodney Johnson drove in Seth Johnson with an RBI single to the shallow right.
After a Matt Eskew blooper fell in for a single down the left-field line to load the bases, Gray plunked Hunter Wilkes to bring in Minden’s sixth and final run.
The unsung hero was Tide senior Austin Wall who worked a complete game. Wall was dialed-in, striking out only two, but limiting Lakeside to seven hits while walking none; Minden was error-free for the game.
It may have felt anti-climactic, but for an embattled Minden team, there is no confidence boost like beating your rival, the No. 3 team in Class 2A, to prepare you for the playoffs.
Minden, the No. 15 team in the Class 4A playoff bracket, will face the No. 18 Franklinton Demons, Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Griffith Stadium in Minden for first-round playoff action.
For Lakeside, losing in such fashion certainly stings, but the Warriors have plenty to be excited about heading in as the No. 3 team in a wide-open playoff bracket.
The playoff-like atmosphere should stand to benefit both clubs as well. Lakeside begins their run Monday at 5 p.m. in Sibley against No. 30 Pickering at Warrior Field.
Taylor (AR) 4, North Webster 2
SPRINGHILL – The North Webster Knights finished their regular season with a loss to Taylor High School out of Taylor, Arkansas, 4-2.
The Knights began the season red-hot, but have seen some struggles down the stretch of the season, losing four of their last seven.
Taylor was leading 4-1 in the fifth when North Webster cut into the deficit with a RBI double by Hayden Corbell, scoring Riley Orr to make it 4-2.
Unfortunately, the Knights’ bats were cold the rest of the way. Carlin Rasberry and Cameron Huff each finished with multi-hit games for North Webster.
The Knights sent five seven pitchers to the mound, with Tyler Lee taking the loss.
North Webster was able to maintain their hold on the No. 2 ranking for the Class 3A playoffs, and will host No. 31 KIPP Renaissance on Tuesday at Randy McMahen Park, starting at 4 p.m.
In the MAIS, the Glenbrook Apaches are preparing for their first-round playoff opponent as well, the Franklin Academy Cougars.
The Apaches will hit the road for game one the three-game playoff series, starting at 6 p.m. in Winnsboro.
The series will shift to Minden on Friday for game two and game three (if neccessary). Game two starts at 4 p.m. Friday.