By T. Scott Boatright
The Choudrant High School Aggies had been patient throughout the Louisiana Class B Baseball Tournament.
They had been patiently waiting for their bats to finally heat up the way they had during regular season play.
It didn’t happen until late in Saturday’s title game against Elizabeth, but in the bottom of the sixth inning Choudrant’s bats ignited to help plate five runs and lift the Aggies to a 6-1 win and their fifth state championship in school history.
Elizabeth took an early lead on a run-scoring single in the top of the third inning, but in the bottom half of the inning Choudrant’s Austin Swift lined a one-out double for the Aggies’ first hit of the day. Landon Hennen then tripled to score Swift and tie the contest at 1-1 before two strikeouts ended the threat.
The offenses stayed quiet until Choudrant made its move in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Bryce McGuire reached on a one-out error before Jackson Case singled with two down, and McGuire hustled to third, drawing a throw that allowed Case to get to second.
Swift then broke the tie with a two-run single to right before Hennen singled to center, and Swift moved to third as Hennen took second on a throw to third. Tassin doubled to center, scoring both for a 5-1 lead. Braden Jones then singled to center to score courtesy runner Kaden Bradshaw, who had stolen third. All of the runs were unearned.
The Bulldogs added a little excitement in the top of the seventh as after two quick outs, they got a double and a walk before the game ended on a popup to Jones, who was chosen the Most Outstanding Player after pitching all seven innings and throwing a four-hitter with nine strikeouts.
Swift went 3-for-3 out of the No. 9 hole, and scored twice. Choudrant had nine hits with Hennen adding two.
Antley said he was just pleased to see his team’s patience at the plate finally pay off.
“It had been that way through the playoffs — our bats had cooled off a little bit,” Antley said. “But we felt like at any moment we could explode and score three or four runs in an inning and thank goodness, in the sixth inning that’s what happened. We felt we had a chance to get on their pitcher throughout the ball game and that he was going to pound the strike zone, but we really felt like if we could get our bats going we could make it happen. And Austin Swift made that happen.
“Throughout the year with all the wins, that’s the way it’s been. The bottom of our lineup has set the table many times for the top part of the lineup to knock them in.”
Choudrant finished the season at 32-3 with 30 straight wins. Elizabeth’s season ended with a record of 33-5.
Antley admitted that he didn’t realize how strong his team was when the season first began.
“This year’s been different in itself,” Antley said. “We didn’t get to finish last year, so we really didn’t know what we had coming into the season. And we really didn’t know what other teams had either, because senior classes had moved on and some younger guys had stepped up to fill those spots but were still unproven.
“I just think with all that going on with the pandemic and everything, it made this season even more special.”
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