Claiborne Christian rallies past Northside Christian in Class C quarterfinals

WEST MONROE – Northside Christian’s Warriors delivered a staggering blow in the top of the third inning against the Claiborne Crusaders Friday.

But it wasn’t enough.

The No. 3-seeded Crusaders shook it off and answered back with what proved to be a knockout blow in the bottom of the frame, scoring six runs en route to an 8-3 Class C quarterfinal-round playoff victory over the Warriors.

The loss ended the Warriors season at 10-10. The Crusaders moved on to Friday’s semifinals in Sulphur where they will take on Georgetown.

“I think we jumped on them and it kind of shocked them because I don’t think they expected that,” said NCS coach Lane Marceaux. “Then their bats just got started and it led to a big inning.”

Northside hurler Joseph Trahan had held Claiborne to just one hit and he struck out three in the first two innings.

But in the third, the Crusaders were able to get to the hard-throwing sophomore and tagged him for six runs on five hits, including doubles by Alex Holmes and Macon Bell.

“You have to tip your cap to Northside, they played a really good game,” said Claiborne coach Chad Olinde. “We have such a great group of kids. We came out swinging and were able to get ahead.”

Once the Crusaders took the lead, Zach Osbon made it stand. The lanky junior, whose fastball was consistently clocked in the mid 80s, allowed just two base runners - on a walk and an error - over the next three innings.

In all, Osbon gave up just one hit, a two-run triple to Josh Wheeler in the third inning, and walked four. He struck out 11 in six innings of work.

“Their pitcher was very good,” said Marceaux. “We knew that coming in. We knew he had good velocity and he kept it the entire game. He threw the breaking ball well and he was able to keep us off balance.”

The Warriors threatened in the seventh and final inning when they had two runners reach base by virtue of walks from reliever Wesley Drake. The freshman got out of the potential jam with a strikeout to end the game.

“After the third inning, we just couldn’t put anything together,” said Marceaux. “We played good, just after that inning, we just couldn’t get back on.”

Northside got on the board in the third inning when Shea Bertrand and Ben Morgan each drew walks. Then with two outs, Wheeler drove a 1-2 fastball to deep right center field to plate both runners before scoring himself on an errant throw.

Dylan Ogle started the Crusaders’ rally in the bottom of the frame with a leadoff single to right field. One out later, Osbon singled to center and Cody Jordan drew a walk to load the bases. Cody Spillers followed with a two-run single and Holmes had an RBI double to the game in right center. Bell put the finishing touches on the inning with a two-run double.

The Crusaders added to their lead in the fourth inning when Jordan drew a walk and eventually scored on a wild pitch.

Jordan also scored the final run of the game in the sixth when he singled and crossed the plate on a throwing error.

Trahan suffered the loss after giving up six runs on six hits and two walks. He struck out four in three innings.

Wheeler took the mound in relief of Trahan in the fourth inning and gave up two runs on four hits and one walk. He struck out three in the final three innings.

For the Warriors, who took runnersup honors in District 5-C, it was the fourth straight trip to the quarterfinal round.

“I’m very proud of our guys,” said Marceaux. “This is four years in a row that we get to the quarterfinals. They have nothing to hang their heads about. We just haven’t gotten over that hump, but there’s a lot of teams that would love to get to the quarterfinals four years in a row.”

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