By T. Scott Boatright
SULPHUR — In order to spark themselves to a win, the top-seeded Choudrant Aggies fanned the flames of victory Tuesday afternoon in Louisiana Class B baseball semifinals play at McMurry Park against 10th-seeded Monterey.
That’s “fanned” as in striking out Wolves batters.
Choudrant’s Braden Jones and Brandon Carter combined for 15 strikeouts on the day, providing a need for little offense in a 1-0 win over Monterey.
The Aggies (31-3) will take on fourth-seeded Elizabeth at 10 a.m. Saturday for the Class B championship at McMurray Park.
Monterey’s Ethan Clark played his role in the pitchers’ duel, giving up only four hits to the Aggies while striking out four batters himself.
Jones started on the mound for the Aggies and recorded 12 strikeouts to earn the win.
The Wolves put a runner on third in the top of the fifth inning, but Jones worked his way out of the jam by striking out the last two batters he faced.
After leaving runners on second and third but failing to score in the third inning, Choudrant finally plated a run in the bottom of the fifth after Stone Weaver reached base on a throwing error before stealing second to put the Aggies in scoring position with no outs.
Jackson Case’s sacrifice bunt moved Weaver to third before the Aggies were handed their first out of the inning.
But Landon Hennen followed with his second single of the contest to plate Weaver and give the Aggies the only run they’d need to win.
Carter took the mound for Choudrant in the top of the sixth inning, recording three straight strikeouts, and then escaped in the seventh despite two Wolves reaching base to earn the save for the Aggies.
Hennen led Choudrant with a 2-for-2 plate performance with a walk and a stolen base while Luke Tassin and Eli Watson added one single each for the Aggies.