CLOSE PLAY AT FIRST - Rayne High’s Zach Fontenot tries to get on safe at first base during the Wolves’ 5-4 loss to Westgate High in the quarterfinals of the 4-A state playoffs, one game shy of the State Tournament slted this week in Sulphur. (Acadian-Tribune Photo by Lisa Soileaux)
Wolves fall game shy of State Tournament
RAYNE - The 2018 baseball season has been a close one for the Wolves and the state playoffs was no different.
In quarterfinal action, the No. 23-ranked Rayne High Wolves hosted Westlake (31) in a district showdown.
During district action during the regular season, the two teams split their two-game league series.
In addition, both teams defeated higher-ranking teams to get to the third round of the playoffs -- the stage was set for a Cinderella story for both schools. The stage was set for only onw to advance.
In their opening contest of their best-of-three quarterfinal series held Thursday, May 3, the Tigers came out swinging and hitting early on, forcing Rayne to play catch-up the entire contest.
Westgate opened the ballgame very early on, scoring two runs in the first frame, adding another in the second inning for a quick 3-0 lead.
The Tigers added another run in the fourth before the Wolves scored two runs on a big rally in the fifth.
With two enpty frames, the Tigers got a second wind in the top of the final inning to rally in three runs for a 7-2 lead, leaving Rayne between a rock and a hard place.
Bryce Gatte scored on a single to the outfield by Demarcus James and James then scored on a single by Zach Fontenot for two Rayne runs -- subject to be their final scores of the ballgame for a 4-7 loss.
Ringing up singles for the Wolves during the loss were Fontenot, Richard, Julian Harvey, Tucket Babineaux and two by James.
Will Arceneaux took the loss for Rayne on the mound as he surrendered two runs on three hits over four and two-thirds innings. Colin Lacombe started the game for Rayne giving up three runs on four hits over one and one-third innings, striking out one and walking zero.
In a do or died situation for the Wolves, they laid it all out during Friday’s second game of the quarterfinal series, but still came up short in a 5-4 final, seeing their seniors play their game in a Wolves’ uniform.
Despite holding a 4-0 Rayne lead going into the sixth inning of play, Westgate mustered up three runs in the bottom of the sixth, allowing Rayne a slim 4-3 lead heading into the final frame.
One more frame was all the Tigers needed to take advantage of two unusal Rayne defensive errors, allowing two runners to tag home and take a 5-4 win into the state tournament.
Lighting up the scoreboard with runs for the Wolves were Damarcus James and Darian Richard each with a run, plus Bryce Gatte touching the plate twice.
“Despite tonight’s result, I’m really proud of these guys,” stated Rayne Head Coach Jason Bonin following Friday’s tight quarterfinal loss.
“They have worked hard all season and have showed improvement,” Bonin continued. “We are not surprised at their season -- we knew they could do it.”
Rayne hitting was led by Gatte with two singles, and double by James, Alex Savoy and Zach Fontenot. Darian Richard led RBIs on the day with two.