By T. Scott Boatright
Choudrant High School’s baseball team was determined.
Aggie senior Brandon Carter might have been the most determined of all.
And of that that determination propelled Choudrant to a 3-1 win over Fairview Friday night in Class B baseball quarterfinals action at Tony Antley Field, sending them to a semifinals matchup against Monterey at 2 p.m. Tuesday at McMurray Park in Sulphur.
The Class B state championship game is set for 10 a.m. Saturday at McMurray Park.
Choudrant, 30-3, has won 28 in a row and are seeded No. 1 in Class B while Monterey is seeded 20th. Monterey upset No. 4 Zwolle on the road in the regional round 5-2 and beat No. 12 Pitkin 1-0 in the quarterfinals.
The Aggies are aiming for their fifth state title (1996, 2002, 2005, 2017) under Antley, who guided them to the state finals four more times (1990, 2006, 2010, 2011). The Aggies were semifinalists in 2018 and 2015.
This will make the fifth time in the last 10 postseasons (there wasn’t one in 2020), the Aggies have reached the semifinals. They got to the finals in 2010, 2011 and 2017 (taking state).
“Our four seniors have fought so hard — they’re relentless. This whole team is relentless,” Antley said. “We have all the confidence in the world right now. The thing we have to focus on now is one inning, one game at a time.
“If we do that, the rest will take care of itself.”
The Aggies moved to take care of their quarterfinal game early on, plating two runs in the bottom of the first inning.
Luke Tassin reached on a one-out error to put a Choudrant runner on base before Carter’s two-out single scored him. Carter then stole second before scoring himself on Eli Watson’s single for a 2-0 lead the Aggies would never relinquish.
That quick start wasn’t anything new for Choudrant, which scored three runs in the bottom of the first of its regional round win to take early control in that game, too.
Tassin scored again in the fifth inning, reaching base on a fielder’s choice before scoring on a Fairview error.
Carter took over on the mound for the Aggies in the sixth inning, and had to dodge a serious threat by the Panthers before escaping the stanza with the CHS lead intact.
A Fairview single followed by two wild pitches by Carter preceded an RBI single, followed by a double … so after that RBI single and an ensuing double that put Fairview runners on second (the tying run) with one out.
That brought Antley out to the mound.
“I just told him we’d gone through the meat of their order and he just needed to bear down and do this,” said Antley of his trip to visit with Carter. “I told him to get those two outs and get to our last at bat.”
Carter then picked up a strikeout before hitting a batter to load the bases. He then got a grounder back to him to end the bases-loaded threat.
He set Fairview down in order in the top of the seventh inning to earn a save.
“I knew I’d given up a couple of hits but that I just had to work out of it and get those last two outs,” Carter said of his thoughts after Antley’s visit to the mound. “We weren’t about to let that one get away.”
Jones and Carter combined on a four-hitter for Aggies pitchers.
Choudrant didn’t commit an error in the contest while Fairview made three.
Jones threw the first five innings, allowed one hit, struck out nine batters with no walks and one hit batter. Fairview led off the game with a single and didn’t get another hit against him.
Carter allowed three hits in the last two innings while striking out three batters.
“We’re hyped. We’re ready,” said Carter of the Aggies’ mindset heading toward the semifinals. “It was a great team win. We’ve had one goal all season long and now there are only two games left. We’re determined to do this, and we’re not going to stop until we do.”