Crowley Gents fall to Iowa in extra innings
CROWLEY – The Crowley Gents gave District 4-3A favorite Iowa all they could handle and then some Thursday evening.
Unfortunately for the Gents, Iowa broke a 2-2 deadlock in the top of the 11th inning and slipped away from Miller Stadium with a 3-2 victory in what was the league opener for both teams.
“Like I told the guys, I’m disappointed but not upset from the standpoint that I thought we played as well as we have played this year,” said CHS coach Christian Doughty following the loss that dropped his team to 5-9 on the season. “Yeah, we made a few mistakes.
“But the game is hard enough. It’s going to be tough for us to be perfect. I thought we competed so well and you can’t ask for more than that.”
Doughty was especially pleased with the performance of his two young pitchers - sophomore Mackay Mouton and freshman Bradley Ancelet.
Mouton struggled with control issues early on but he limited the Yellow Jackets to just two runs on two hits in six innings of work.
Ancelet, who was tagged with the loss, surrendered just one run on one hit in five innings of relief work.
“I was very proud of our pitchers,” said Doughty. “I think any time you throw a sophomore and a freshman against a top five school and you take them to extra innings... We were in it.”
Oddly enough, Crowley was a winner in every column on the scoreboard except runs. The Gents committed one less error than the Yellow Jackets and they actually outhit Iowa, 8-3.
“You know, that was kind of a shock,” said Doughty. “We’ve been working really hard on the hitting side. For us to get eight hits, we’re very pleased with that. But I never would have dreamed that we would give up three hits in 11 innings and lose the ballgame.”
Iowa was able to take a 1-0 lead in the first inning without logging a single hit. Mouton issued three walks in the inning before Gabe Roberts crossed the plate on a wild pitch.
The Gents responded two innings later when they tagged Iowa starter Justin Damary for four hits and two runs.
Nathan Richard started the inning with an infield hit and he later scored on a single to center field by Ancelet to tie the game. Brodey Deshotel then reached base on a fielder’s choice and scored on Mouton’s single to center to give the Gents a 2-1 advantage.
The Gents’ defense provided two highlight reel plays one inning later as Mouton set the Yellow Jackets down in order. First, Ancelet made a backhanded grab in the hole at shortstop and threw out Garrett Dartez to start the frame. Then, second baseman Alex LeBouef made an over-the-shoulder diving grab in shallow right field for the second out before Mouton got Tanner Buller to groundout to Ancelet for the final out of the inning.
However, a mental miscue and an errant throw to the plate in the sixth inning proved costly for the Gents.
With the bases loaded and one out, Iowa’s Andrew Self hit a grounder to CHS third baseman Steven Bertrand. Bertrand looked to second to start the double play, then spun and threw to the plate for the force out but his throw was off the mark and Phillip LeBlue scored to tie the game at 2-2.
Mouton got out of the potential big inning with back-to-back strikeouts.
With the game tied, Iowa sent LeBlue to the mound in the bottom of the sixth. The McNeese signee struck out the side and was able to hold the Gents scoreless over the next five innings.
LeBlue also provided the Yellow Jackets with the winning run in the top of the 11th inning after drawing a leadoff walk. He moved to second on an errant pickoff throw by Ancelet, stole third and scored on an infield single by Self.
The Gents did have opportunities to plate runs in four of the final five innings. The Gents had at least one runner reach base in the final four frames, including a runner at third base in the ninth, but they were unable to push across a run.
“We knew coming in that Iowa was the district favorite,” said Doughty. “So for us to come in and play like we did against them, and face a pitcher that’s a Division I signee with good stuff...you know, we battled. I can’t ask for any more than that.”
LeBlue was credited with the win after giving up three hits and three walks. He struck out 12 in five innings.
Mouton, Richard and Mickey Morgan each had two hits for the Gents while Ancelet, Taylor Doughty and Brody Deshotel each had one hit.
Roberts, Demary and Self each had one hit for the Yellow Jackets.
The Gents will return to action on Monday when they travel to Westlake to make up their rainout game from last Tuesday. They will turn around and travel to South Beauregard on Tuesday before playing host to Jennings on Thursday.