Baseball Playoffs: Rummel knocks off the rust to down Byrd, take edge in quarterfinal series
NEW ORLEANS – When you are lacking your best stuff, the ability to dig deep and find something to persevere is huge. Winners are able to do so.
Rummel junior Jackson Dennies has proven to be a winner and that was the case again Thursday afternoon at Kirsch-Rooney Stadium. Dennies battled through major control issues to pitch the fourth-seeded Raiders to a 5-2 win over No. 5 Byrd in game one of the best-of-three Division I series in a game seen live at CrescentCitySports.com.
It was a battle of two teams playing perhaps their best baseball of the season. Rummel has now won five straight games while Byrd had its five-game win streak snapped.
Dennies walked five, hit two batters an uncorked two wild pitches but he departed in the top of the sixth with the lead and having allowed just two runs as he reached the maximum pitch count of 115. He struck out six. Dennies helped his own cause with a double and pitched out of bases loaded jams in the first and fourth innings.
“I started off rusty but I get better as the game goes on,” Dennies said. “As the game progressed, I kind of got in my groove and did my thing. The offense was great today. We put up runs to match them in the first and that’s huge. I had a comfortable lead the whole game and I played with confidence. My teammates had my back.”
Byrd (20-16) took advantage of the control issues of Dennies in the top of the first inning. Dennies walked three hitters before Mason Langdon singled home courtesy runner Mitchell Ramsey to make it 1-0. With the bases loaded, Dennies was able to get Matt Randall to pop out to end the threat.
Rummel (20-12) answered with three runs in the bottom of the first inning as Lance Johnson singled, Ron Franklin was hit by a pitch, Chandler Fields delivered a two-out, two-run double and Tyler Cook followed with an RBI single to make it 3-1.
The Raiders added a run in the bottom of the second on a double by Dennies and an error to make it 4-1.
Rummel did it again in the bottom of the third with two outs on an RBI double by Cook, scoring Franklin, who had singled and stole second and it was 5-1.
The Yellow Jackets loaded the bases in the top of the fourth inning on a pair of infield errors by Rummel and a walk but Dennies pitched out of it, getting Charlie Barham to fly out and Cole Joiner to strike out.
Byrd put up in a run in the top of the sixth as pinch-hitter Jack Walker singled and that ended the day for Dennies on the mound. Hayden Elwell took over and allowed an RBI single to Jake Harris to make it 5-2 but Elwell got the final two outs of the inning.
In the top of the seventh, Henry Lott and Randall had consecutive singles but Elwell struck out the side to preserve the victory.
“We’ve been inconsistent at times,” Rummel coach Nick Monica said. “We’ve been really good at times but we’ve shown some youth at times. Jackson didn’t come out the gate strong but he got stronger as the game went on and it was big for us because it allowed us to turn a short game over to Hayden. I’m real proud of the fact that we got all of our runs with two outs. That shows some toughness and grit.”
Did Monica think the Raiders were rusty after not playing for 12 days?
“I don’t know, I just know we have to come out and start better,” Monica said. “We were fortunate to get out of the first inning allowing just one run.”
Dennies likes that his team is playing well at the right time.
“We’re just hungry now,” Dennies said. “We’ve got to cruise through and do our thing. We can do it. The mindset it to get to Sulphur. We want a state ring. We can do it. The biggest game of the season is tomorrow.”
The Raiders scored all five of their runs with two outs, coming through in big situations. The Yellow Jackets missed multiple chances, stranding 12 men on base. Sawyer Lacoste took the loss, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits. He walked no one and struck out eight.
“We competed at the plate,” Byrd coach Greg Williams said. “Credit Jackson Dennies. He threw well in some tough spots. He gave us some opportunities to score. We just couldn’t get that hit. Lacoste competes and he can keep kids off balance. Rummel had a good approach early but he settled in. We feel we can come back and win the series. I feel good about it. I think we have some pitching depth. To knock off a team like Rummel, we’re going to need that.”
Game two is Friday at 4 p.m. with game three, if necessary, to follow at 7 p.m. with the winner to advance to the semifinals in Sulphur next week. You can watch all of the action live at CrescentCitySports.com.
CEB 100 000 0 — 2 5 2, 12 LOB
RUM 311 000 x — 5 7 2, 4 LOB
WP—Jackson Dennies (8-1)
LP—Sawyer Lacoste (2-4)
Time of Game: 2:18
SB—Lance Johnson, Ron Franklin, Kyle Walker, William Berry
2B—Chandler Fields, Jackson Dennies, Tyler Cook
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