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Sports

May 5, 2014

Bacone wins RRAC title

SHREVEPORT, La. – It didn’t take long for the Bacone Warriors to establish dominance in the championship round of the Red River Conference baseball tournament on Sunday.

Needing to win one more game to capture the tournament title, the Warriors jumped on LSU-Shreveport starter Cam Ellis for six runs in the top of the first and never looked back, beating the Pilots 7-4 to win the championship.

“This feels great,” said Bacone coach J.T. Severe. “A lot of hard work over the years went into to this to try to make this happen. I think Bacone had a division title in 2007, but this is the first tournament title.”

With the win, the Warriors (34-18) earn the league’s automatic berth into the NAIA playoffs. The pairings will be released on Friday.

Bacone started its first at-bat harmlessly with Jonathan Villela and Jean Carlos Rodriguez striking out. Peter Rodriguez then induced a walk and the race was on.

Jean Ortiz followed with a walk and Ryan Wagner was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Eric Folkers brought home Bacone’s first run with a single to center, scoring Peter Rodriguez, and after Ronnie Galindo singled to bring home Ortiz, Edwin Torres singled to left to score John Burns, a courtesy runner for Wagner, and Folkers to make the score 4-0.

The scoring in the frame ended with Galindo coming home on a passed ball and Villela bringing home Torres to make the score 6-0.

“I just knew we had to keep putting runs on the board,” Villela said. “Shreveport’s a very good-hitting team. So I knew we had to keep putting pressure on them.”

Tim Hill got the start on the mound for Bacone and cruised through the first four innings, holding the Pilots hitless until David Diaz beat out an infield single in the bottom of the fifth. After the Warriors added their final run of the game in the sixth inning on an RBI single by Villela, LSU-Shreveport finally got on the scoreboard in the seventh inning on a fielder’s choice by Kade Billeaudeaux to make the score 7-1.

In the eighth inning with one out, the Pilots made the game interesting when Reed Lavallee smacked a three-run home run to cut the Warriors’ advantage to 7-4 and end Hill’s night. Following a one-hour power delay, Michael Kirkland came on in relief and was greeted by David Dorton’s single but settled down to retire the next five batters to end the game and earn the save.

“I knew my boys would back me up,” Hill said about the effects of the delay. “We been having it out for (LSU-Shreveport) for awhile now. This feels real good. We finally got them.”

Hill (10-1) pitched 7 1/3 innings and gave up just five hits while striking three for the win while Kirkland struck out two of the five batters he faced for his fifth save of the year.

Villela had the only multi-hit game for Bacone, going 2-for-5 with two runs batted in while Torres scored twice and drove in two runs.

“The delay might have settled our guys down,” Severe said. “You know you have a six-run lead cut in half, it could have gone either way. Michael came in and stabilized the game.”

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