Raiders’ baseball team makes history

Published 12:21 am Wednesday, April 25, 2018

It was a historic evening for Pine baseball in two ways on Monday.
The first historic moment came with the Raiders hosting their first ever playoff baseball game.
Then, Pine went out and captured its first postseason victory in the program’s history with a come-from-behind, 7-4 win over Avoyelles Public Charter in the Class 2A postseason.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” Pine coach Blake Dillon said about the first playoff victory. “It’s something that we’ve worked so hard for in our program. This is my eighth year now and we started from winning no games my first year to the last four years we’ve been in the playoffs. We won 16, 17, 17, then 19 (regular season games) this year. That makes 20 on the year. It just feels good. We’ve been working hard and the kids bought in to what we were wanting to do this year.
“They’ve worked their tails off. You’ve got to give them the credit. I’m just here trying to push them to get them better, but they put in the work, they do the job and it’s their win when it comes down to it. We’re really excited for our school, for our program. It’s just an awesome time right now to be a Raider baseball player.”
Up next for the 13th-seeded Raiders, who are 20-10, is a best-of-three against fourth-seeded DeQuincy. DeQuincy, which has a 23-7 record, defeated No. 29 Oakdale, 12-2 in six innings.
Monday’s game got off to a rough start for Pine, as the Raiders got down, 3-0 in the third inning. Avoyelles scored a run in the first and two more in the third.
Spencer Coco began the game with a double and took third on a wild pitch. After Stephen Ducote walked, Luke Rousseau drove home Coco with an RBI fielder’s choice as the force out was recorded at second. After a stolen base and the first out, Noah Deshotel singled to right field. The runner attempted to score, but Logan Leger came up throwing and threw a strike to catcher Devan Whaley to get the courtesy runner at home and keep it 1-0 through one inning.
Avoyelles added two more in the third. Rousseau singled with one out. After a stolen base, Triston Lemoine and Deshotel both singled, but fielding errors allowed the runs to score on the plays and it was 3-0.
But Pine came back.
The Raiders scored the game’s next seven runs, which took place over the ensuing two innings.
Pine posted four in the third and three in the fourth.
With one out, Kendall Sheridan and Kaden Fersch reached on infield singles. Ethan Knight then doubled home Sheridan, pulling Pine within two. After the second out, Ian Turner came up with runners on second-and-third and his team down 3-1 in a big spot. Turner came through in the clutch with a two-run single to right field. Fersch and courtesy runner courtesy runner Cory Barber scored to tie the game at 3-3.
“It felt great to come in and help my team,” said Turner, who had two hits and three RBIs.
Dillon said that Turner has been clutch all year.
“Every time that he comes up and we’ve got people on base, we’ve got faith that Ian’s going to come through with us,” Dillon said. “We know he’s not going to hit the ball very hard, but we know he’s going to put the ball in play, we know he’s going to give it everything he’s got. What we teach them, put the ball in play, don’t get up there and strikeout and good things will happen.
“That’s been Ian’s season. He’s hit over .400. Nobody’s expected that from him, but he’s had a really good season because he’s done what he’s been taught. He doesn’t strike out, he puts the ball in play and good things happen.”
An error allowed Turner to move to second and he later scored when Blaine Polk doubled him home and Pine had the lead, 4-3.
“We’ve been in that situation before. We’ve put ourselves in binds before,” Dillon said. “You’ve got to give credit to Avoyelles. They came out and started playing a real good baseball game. They put some pressure on us and we weren’t making the plays at first, but we fought through adversity.
“It’s something that we’ve done all year, from the first pitch to the last pitch, is fighting through adversity with our team through games, through practices — all the time — just never giving up. The mentality of, we’re going to go out and give our best game, our best try, every time.”
Pine added three more run in the fourth. Triston Jones walked before singles by Sherian and Fersch loaded the bases. Knight drew an RBI walk, plating Jones to make it a two-run game. Pine ran a suicide squeeze and Coby Sheridan got the bunt down. The ball was mishandled. Sheridan reached and Kendall Sheridan scored to make it 6-3. Turner drove in his third run by getting hit by a pitch, sending Fersch home.
It was 7-3 after four and it stayed that way until the seventh when Avoyelles put two runners on and tallied a run, but could not bring the tying run to the plate.
Knight was the winning pitcher after throwing 6-2/3 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits with four strikeouts and five walks.
Luke Fonda recorded the save after recording the final two outs.
Offensively, Kendall Sheridan posted three hits and two runs.
Fersch singled twice and scored twice.
Knight had two hits, including a double.
Coby Sheridan singled.
Polk had an RBI double and Jones walked and scored.
For Avoyelles, Coco doubled and scored.
Rousseau, Deshotel and Lemoine all singled twice. Lemoine scored a run and Deshotel drove in a run.