West Jones uses big fifth inning to take 2019 5A State Championship series from Lafayette
PEARL, Miss – The awe-inspiring, bounce-back campaign for the Lafayette baseball team hit the end of the road Thursday night in Pearl. Dropping game two of the 5A State Championship series with West Jones 7-2, the comeback season for Lafayette (20-12-1) came to a close.
“It hurts. It stings, just to make it this far. From starting those workouts in the summer to getting to this point, it just hurts to see them walking away with that trophy instead of us,” said senior Ben Harper. “It’s just not a good feeling. I’m not a very emotional person when it comes to crying, but it just kind of came out at the end… this is it.”
Going scoreless and hitless through the opening two innings, Lafayette broke the stalemate in the third. Harper ripped a single that scored Quinshun Twilly, who was pinch running for a walked batter. As they’ve been prone to do all year, it was a little senior-for-senior action that scored the opening Commodore run.
Throwing zeros through three innings, Zach Meagrow would give up his first hit on the mound Thursday in the fourth inning. Despite giving up three hits in a row then, the Commodores were able to sustain, getting out of the inning tied at one. It wasn’t until the fifth where things got away from Lafayette.
— Nathanael Gabler (@ngabler4) May 17, 2019
The first seven West Jones (29-5) baserunners reached in the fifth inning – Meagrow’s night was done after the sixth of those. It was a pair of two-RBI doubles that did the damage in the inning. Both down the line in left field, they accounted for all of the four West Jones runs in the inning. After five, it was 5-1 Mustangs.
Typically a reliever for the Commodores, senior Zach Meagrow got the start in the must-win game for Lafayette. Meagrow was really impressive in the expanded role for a while, but the fact that he’s more of a reliever showed in the middle-innings. He got everyone out the first time through the order, but allowed five of nine on base the second time through the order.
“That guy is just a good, solid high-school baseball player,” said head coach John Walker, talking about Meagrow. “He’s had a tough two series, but man we’re not here without him. He pitched his guts out tonight.”
Offensively, the best chance for a big Commodore inning came in the sixth. Lafayette’s Ben Harper was hit by pitch to start the inning. Tyrus Williams followed it up with a single to put two men on with no outs in the frame. The Commodores would make something of the inning, walking home a run to force out the Mustang starter and cut the deficit to 5-2. However, that’s all they’d get with the opportunity.
Filling in for Meagrow in the fifth was Blake Loper. Pitching well over the final 1.2 innings of the game. The Mustangs would tag on two more runs in the sixth getting it to 7-2, however only one was credited to Loper due to Commodore errors.
The trip to Pearl didn’t go as planned for Walker’s Commodores, but by no means does that make 2019 a lost season. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. So Lafayette got swept in the 5A State Championship. After how they finished last year at 11-12 and outside of the playoffs entirely, there’s no way to spin the 20-12-1 season as anything but a success.
“It hurts man. We wanted to win this thing and we were capable of winning this thing,” Walker said. “We got kind of dealt a sour hand but championship teams are going to overcome that. We just weren’t quite ready to do it.”