Lafayette baseball sees season end in 5A North Half series

Published 12:55 pm Saturday, May 22, 2021

SALTILLO — After reaching the MHSAA Class 5A state championship series two years ago, Lafayette’s baseball team was two wins away from making their second straight appearance, but it was not to be.

From trailing a run for most of the game, Saltillo scored for runs in the fifth and sixth inning to defeat Lafayette 4-1 in game two of their 5A North Half series on Friday at Saltillo’s City Park, sweeping the Commodores out of the playoffs. The Tigers avenged their North Half series loss to Lafayette in 2019.

Wilson Varner got the start on the mound for Lafayette on Friday and gave his team all he had. Varner even helped out his own cause at the plate with a RBI-single in the top of the third inning, scoring Tyrus Williams from second to give Lafayette the 1-0 advantage.

Varner kept the Saltillo bats at bay for four innings, but a wild pitch in the fifth inning allowed the Tigers to score a run from third and tie the game.

“He’s really good,” said Lafayette head coach John Walker about Varner. “We had chances to add after that first run we scored and their guy found a way to get out of it. We elevated his pitch count, not really at the rate that we have liked to. He was good tonight and it was a battle of two arms. (Saltillo) put it together when it mattered.”

The Commodores were unable to take advantage having runners on base in the early innings, stranding nine for the game. They stranded three runners in scoring position.

Saltillo starter Drake Douglas pitched a complete game and threw over 120 pitches as the Commodores could never knock him out of the game with a big inning. Douglas struck out six Lafayette batters.

“Barrel after barrel for outs,” Walker said of Lafayette’s woes on offense. “We’ve really struggled throughout the entire season to line hits up. That’s just kind of been our calling car. We’ve had rely on big innings and when you get this late in the year and everybody’s the caliber of teams that you face when you get to a final four. If you can’t line hits up it’s tough to win and we weren’t able to do it.”

Salillo advances to the Class 5A state championship series, which begin on June 1 at Trustmark Park in Pearl.