Berwick High School defeated Eunice 2-0 in its Class 3A quarterfinal series in Berwick this weekend. The Panthers won game one, 12-2, in six innings Friday, while they clinched the series in game 2 with a 12-3 victory Saturday. With the series win, Berwick advances to its second-straight 3A semifinal at McMurry Park in Sulphur. The Panthers, Class 3A's No. 4 seed, will meet top-ranked Sterlington Thursday at 7:30 p.m. (The Daily Review/Mico Aloisio)
Berwick wins series with Eunice, returns to 3A semis
Berwick High School continued its dominate play on the baseball diamond, routing Eunice High in the first two games in Berwick to win its best-of-three series, 2-0, and advance to the Allstate Sugar Bowl/Louisiana High School Athletic Association State Tournament for the second straight year.
After winning game one, 12-2 in six innings Friday as the home team, the Panthers took game two, 12-3, Saturday as the away squad.
“Eunice is a fantastic club with amazing tradition and a coach that has 560 wins,” Berwick High School coach Brandon Bravata said. “I think that people looked at box score and said, ‘man, they must have had an easy road.’ I just don’t think that was the case. I think we’ve just played very well. Maybe we are peaking at the right time, at least it looks like the case the last couple of weeks.”
Berwick will continue its postseason Thursday when it faces Class 3A’s top seed, Sterlington High School (32-3), at 7:30 p.m. in Class 3A semifinal action on Field 41 at McMurry Park in Sulphur. Sterlington advanced after winning a series, 2-0, against Berwick’s District 8-3A foe, Erath. Sterlington won game 1, 11-1 in six innings Saturday before taking game 2, 6-3.
Bravata said his team is excited to be back in Sulphur, but it’s also a different feeling this year.
“Last year the dynamic of winning in a walk-off and just getting to Sulphur felt like just a huge accomplishment, and of course, this year, it’s a huge accomplishment, especially to go back-to-back,” Bravata said. “It’s extremely huge, but it just feels this year like ‘we’ve been there,’ and it feels like our guys just expected to be there. I don’t mean that as any arrogance or anything like that, and I’m speaking on behalf of them, but it just seems like to me that they felt like we deserved to be there and we were going to be there and it feels like to me they want to take that next step.”
As for Berwick (27-8), in game two Saturday, the Panthers took a 4-0 lead in the top of the first after a two-run single by Zeph Hoffpauir, a run-scoring single by Kyle Pitre and an RBI-groundout by Kyle Boudreaux to first base.
Berwick added a run in the second on Pitre’s double and four in the third — one on Mitchell Sanford’s RBI-single and the rest on Lucas Hatch’s three-run home run for a 9-0 Berwick lead.
Boudreaux collected an RBI in the fourth for a 10-0 Berwick lead.
Eunice (29-10) cut its deficit to 10-3 in the bottom of the fifth, with the first run scoring on an error at second base. The Bobcats plated two more runs via back-to-back RBI-singles by Grant Fontenot and Seth Venable.
Reid Wiley extended Berwick’s lead to 11-3 in the top of the sixth, while the game’s final run scored on an error at second base in the top of the seventh.
While the Berwick bats were hot, Mitchell Sanford was dominant on the mound, too, as he earned the win. In six innings, he surrendered three runs (two earned) on five hits with three walks and 11 strikeouts.
Offensively, Hatch led Berwick with a 3-for-5 performance with a home run, three RBIs and a run. Other top Berwick offensive contributors were: Pitre, 3-for-5 with a double, two RBIs, a stolen base and two runs; Chad LaGrange, 2-for-3, a double and a run; Hoffpauir, 1-for-3, two RBIs and two runs; Boudreaux, 1-for-4, two RBIs and a run; Wiley, 1-for-3, an RBI; and Sanford, 1-for-4, an RBI.
Tyler Darbonne suffered the loss, In 0.2 innings, he surrendered four runs (two earned) on three hits with two walks and two hit batters.
Offensively, Fontenot led Eunice with a 2-for-3 performance with an RBI, while Joshua Youngblood was 2-for-3 with a run. Venable added a 1-for-4 performance with an RBI.
Berwick 12, Eunice 2 (Game 1)
Eunice struck first in game one with two runs in the top of the first inning.
However, Berwick roared back with 12 unanswered to end the game in six innings via the mercy rule.
Eunice scored its runs with two outs when Pitre walked Fontenot with the bases loaded to bring in one run before hitting the next batter, Venable, to bring in another run.
From there, though, Pitre settled in and allowed just two runners to reach second base the remainder of the game.
Berwick responded in the bottom of the first with back-to-back RBI-singles by Hatch and Hoffpauir to tie the game at 2 before Hoffpauir added a two-RBI double in the second for a 4-2 Berwick lead.
Brett Williams had a two-RBI single in the third to extend Berwick’s lead to 6-2, while Pitre had an RBI-double and Wiley, a sacrifice fly to bring in a run in the fourth for an 8-2 Berwick lead.
Two more runs scored in the fifth, including one on Patrick Robertson’s RBI-single, while the game was called in the sixth due to the 10-run mercy rule after Sanford, who had reached base on a single to open the sixth, scored three batters later on an error at third base.
Pitre earned the win. In six innings, he surrendered two earned runs on three hits with three walks, two hit batters and fanned nine.
Offensively, Williams led Berwick with a 4-for-5 performance with two RBIs and two runs. Other top Berwick offensive performers were: Hoffpauir, 3-for-4 with a double, three RBIs, a stolen base and two runs; Sanford, 3-for-4, a double and three runs; Pitre, 2-for-4, a double, an RBI and a stolen base; Hatch, 2-for-5, an RBI and a run; Patrick Robertson, 1-for-3, an RBI; and Wiley, an RBI.
Ian George suffered the loss. In three innings, he surrendered seven runs (seven earned) on nine hits with four walks and three strikeouts.
Darbonne led Eunice with a 2-for-3 performance, while Fontenot and Venable each had an RBI.