Pine’s Cooper pitches a gem, Raiders’ hitters give him plenty of run support

Published 2:58 pm Friday, April 26, 2019

Pine played as close to perfect game as they could Tuesday night — behind the pitching of Chase Cooper backed up by solid hitting and an errorless defense — in a 10-0 Class 2A playoff victory over South Plaquemines in six innings at home.
“I was real happy at how we played tonight,” Pine coach Blake Dillon said. “It starts with starting pitching. When we throw strikes and hit spots, it gives our defense a good chance to make routine plays and we were able to do all that tonight.
“Chase threw a good game. I think he had one walk through five innings, about 80 pitches and I was real happy with how he threw. Freshman on the mound getting a start on a home playoff game, that’s a big thing for him and real happy with how he threw. At the plate, we had some guys step up and had some good hits.
“Blaine Polk come in and hadn’t been getting to play much lately, but got on base three times with a couple of bunts and a double right there at the end of the game to walk off and win with 10-0. We’ve been preaching to the guys that we wanted to be a high seed in the playoffs, so we could have a good match up in the first round and that’s kind of what happened today. South Plaq, they had a good team, but we came out today and just kind of put the ball in play and made them make some mistakes. We did the things we’ve been working on all year — bunting, hit-and-runs and stealing — and everything worked today and looked good.”
Cooper was strong throughout his outing. The freshman tossed five shutout innings, allowing just two hits with six strikeouts and only one walk.
Luke Fonda pitched a perfect sixth inning with two strikeouts.
“The main thing was just hitting corners. That’s all I did all night,” Cooper said. “Location, location, location, that’s all I went after.”
Cooper said the outside changeup was working the best for him and credited the defense for their play.
“They did as much as they could. They made all of the plays that I needed them to make,” Cooper said.
Cooper retired 23rd-seeded South Plaquemines in order in the first inning and he sat down six of the first seven hitters he faced over the first two innings. Pine’s offense gave him plenty of run support during the opening two frames, scoring six runs during that time period.
The 10th-seeded Raiders tallied twice in the first inning.
Kaden Fersch and Cooper hit infield singles with one out. Fersch stole second during Cooper’s at-bat and moved to third on Cooper’s bunt single. Luke Fonda drove home Fersch on a grounder to the shortstop, but the ball went under the fielder’s glove. Will Adams was next and he singled home singled home courtesy runner Reese Thomas with the game’s second run. It was 2-0 through one inning.
The Raiders added four more in the second inning to make it 6-0. Bryson Thomas began the frame with a double to left centerfield. Blaine Polk singled on a bunt, moving Bryson Thomas to third. Kendall Sheridan drove Bryson Thomas home with an RBI single to left for a 3-0 lead. Fersch walked. Cooper reached on a fielder’s choice that forced Fersch at second, but an errant throw to first that went into the dugout allowed Sheridan to score and Pine was up 4-0. Fonda hit an RBI triple to right field, sending Reese Thomas home. Adams’ RBI single plated Colby Comeaux for the 6-0 lead.
Pine tacked on another run in the third inning. Ian Turner doubled before going to third on a wild pitch and scoring a run on Polk’s RBI bunt single and it was 7-0.
It was still 7-0 through 5.5 innings and then Pine scored three runs in the sixth to win by the mercy rule.
Fonda walked and Adams singled with nobody out. Turner walked. Bryson Thomas drove home Reese Thomas to make it 8-0 and then Polk’s two-run double ended it.
Polk went 3-for-4 with the double and three RBIs.
Adams singled three times, drove in a pair of runs and scored a run.
Sheridan singled, walked, drove in a run and scored a run.
Turner doubled, walked and scored two runs.
Bryson Thomas doubled, walked, drove in a run and scored a run.
Fersch singled, walked and scored a run.
Cooper singled and courtesy runner Reese Thomas scored two runs.
Fonda tripled, walked, got hit and drove in two runs. Courtesy runner Comeaux scored a run.
Coby Sheridan walked.
South Plaquemines’ Dontarius Johnson and Michael Brown each had a hit.
Pine moved on to the regionals and was scheduled to play a best-of-three series against seventh-seeded Avoyelles Public Charter. The first game took place Friday. Game two is set for noon on Saturday, April 27, with game three to follow if necessary.
These teams met last year in the bi-district round of the Class 2A playoffs and Pine won, 7-4.