Synergy Bank routs Taco Bell for Swampland title
By GEOFF STOUTE
BERWICK — Taco Bell’s (Berwick) offense started the game with three consecutive singles and scored a run in the top of the first inning of its Swampland Championship contest against Synergy Bank (E.D. White) Wednesday at Berwick High.
By the time Taco Bell got its next hit in the top of the fifth inning, it was in an 8-1 hole and could never recover in a 13-3 loss to Synergy Bank.
For Taco Bell, it was the end to a successful summer where the squad, the No. 2 seed in the Swampland League postseason, advanced to its first ever Swampland League championship contest.
“This game is not the measure of how we competed all summer. … It’s rough out here,” coach Mike Thomas said. “Three days a week and sometimes on weekends, it’s rough to have these kids come out in the heat and do this. My hat’s off to them because they competed the entire month and the camaraderie we had as a team was very good.”
For Synergy Bank, the squad was able to win a title just a little more than a month after falling to Parkview Baptist in the Class 3A state final.
“They learned how to win the summer championship by losing in the state championship, so hopefully it’s a step in the right direction,” Synergy Bank coach Shane Trosclair said. “They’re leaving with a smile on their face and that’s big. … I’m smiling because those guys are smiling. I’m happy for them.”
While Taco Bell’s bats started hot with three consecutive singles by Brooks Richard, Neal Theriot and Bobby Boudreaux, with Boudreaux’s plating a run, Synergy Bank pitcher Justin Theriot settled in after Boudreaux’s hit and allowed no more hits until Brandon Fryou’s RBI-single in the top of the fifth inning.
Meanwhile, Synergy Bank’s hitting, coupled with Taco Bell errors and passed balls, helped the Thibodaux-based squad take control of the contest.
Justin Theriot, who earned the win, surrendered eight hits, two walks and fanned 10 Taco Bell hitters.
“He was able to get ahead and start mixing his pitches and once we got the run cushion for him, they kind of got flat,” Trosclair said.
When Theriot tired in the top of the sixth inning, Trosclair brought in Thomas Legendre to finish the game for Synergy Bank, recording outs on the two batters he faced.
Synergy Bank scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning, the first on an RBI-single by Justin Theriot after the Synergy Bank base runner had advanced from first to third base after an errant pickoff throw by Taco Bell pitcher Tim Shelby to first base.
Shelby, who struggled to find the strike zone, was replaced by freshman Adam Askew after facing four batters.
Synergy Bank scored another run in the first on a wild pitch.
While Askew allowed just a hit in the second inning, he and Taco Bell ran into trouble in the third frame as consecutive errors allowed runners to reach base.
With one out and runners on second and third, Thomas elected to intentionally walk both Scottie Sanders and Justin Theriot.
Synergy Bank plated a run during Theriot’s at-bat, which allowed a run to score.
While Thomas later said he loaded the bases in hopes of coaxing a double play, something his team has turned often this post season, the move backfired as Askew walked in a run and then the next batter, Synergy Bank’s Allan Frost, connected on a grand slam over the left field wall to give Synergy Bank a commanding 8-1 lead.
“That’s a four-run homer,” Trosclair said. “Every four-run homer you get's big and it broke open the game. That kind of knocked the air out their sail.”
Synergy Bank did no more damage in the inning as Taco Bell brought in reliever Neal Theriot.
While Synergy Bank had the big third inning, Justin Theriot continued to baffle Taco Bell, allowing just two base runners, both to second base in the second through fifth innings. One batter walked and another was hit by a pitch.
Taco Bell finally started to get something going again in the top of the fifth inning when a trio of singles by Fryou, Austin Spencer and Richard helped Taco Bell move runners around the bases with Richard’s single plating a run.
While Taco Bell added another run in the top of the sixth, the squad also lost its head coach as Thomas was ejected after arguing a called third strike on Nick Duthu. Thomas had been dissatisfied all day with the home plate umpire’s low strike zone.
Taco Bell miscues in the bottom of the frame helped Synergy Bank runners reach base and move around the base paths. The game’s final run was scored on a passed ball.
While he said he would like to win the Swampland title, Thomas said that isn’t the bigger goal.
“The bigger picture is when February rolls around,” Thomas said.