Pine topped in playoff series

Published 3:06 pm Friday, May 3, 2019

Pine’s Raiders were defeated by Avoyelles Public Charter in the first two games of a best-of-three series in the regional round of the Class 2A state playoffs, 7-6 and 21-0 on the road Friday and last Saturday, respectively.
No. 10 Pine led 6-2 through 5.5 innings in Friday’s 7-6 contest, but seventh-seeded Avoyelles Public Charter tallied five runs in the sixth inning and the Raiders were unable to tie or take the lead in the seventh.
Kaden Fersch recorded two singles, a run batted in and two runs scored.
Luke Fonda posted a pair of singles and two RBIs.
Coby Sheridan went 2-for-4.
Kendall Sheridan had a hit and two runs scored.
Ian Turner singled and scored a run.
Blaine Polk scored a run.
Pine had two hits in Saturday’s game.
Fonda doubled and Turner singled.
The Raiders, who batted in the bottom of the innings, trailed 1-0 through two, but Avoyelles Public Charter scored 20 runs over the next three innings for the five-inning win.
“The whole series, our pitchers kind of struggled throwing strikes. On Friday, we played decent and got out of some jams and had a four-run lead going into the bottom of the sixth. We made some errors and walked some people and weren’t able to get out of it. It was a tough loss on Friday, and Saturday, we kind of showed up and same thing,” Pine coach Blake Dillon said. “Our pitchers have thrown strikes all year, but weren’t able to this weekend and they were able to take advantage of our mistakes and came up with some clutch hits. They played to the advantage of a short park.
“We’re excited about getting back to work for next season. We’ll have 10 seniors next year. We’ll have a big senior class next season and we’ll have high expectations.”
Avoyelles Public Charter plays second-seeded Doyle in a best-of-three on the road Friday with one game, and then possibly two games Saturday. Doyle lost its first game to No. 18 Rosepine, 5-2, but won the next two, 2-1 and 7-4.
Despite the two tough days, Pine had a solid and historic season. The Raiders won their first district title in the program’s history.
“We had a successful season,” Dillon said. “We won 18 games and were able to come out with our first district championship. We played very well in district. We were led by Luke Fonda on the mound. He went 5-0 in district.”
Pine had two seniors in Will Adams and Ian Turner.
“We only had two (seniors) with Ian and Will. Ian has been part of the program since his eighth-grade year,” Dillon said. “Will got here in his sophomore year. Ian was a two-year full-time starter at second base and was able to come up with some big clutch hits. We knew we could pencil him at second every game.
“Will earned a starting spot in right field this year and he came big for us on the mound. He had some big innings for us on the mound the last couple years, highlighted by a no-hitter he threw against Pope.”