Lafayette takes 1-0 series lead in 12-inning thriller

Published 10:55 am Thursday, May 23, 2024

By Ian Sparks

Eagle intern

If Wednesday’s Game 1 is any indication of how this series will go, it will be a good one. Lafayette took a crucial series lead after beating the Vancleave Bulldogs 8-7 in 12 innings in the 5A baseball state championships on Wednesday, May 22.

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The Commodores came into this championship series undefeated in postseason play, sweeping every team they have encountered thus far. All of this goes to show the importance of winning the first game in a series like this.

Vancleave has had almost a just as impressive road to the championships having only lost one game the entire postseason. If this series should get to game 3, the Bulldogs would have experience in playing a full series. Like that series, Vancleave also lost the first game to East Central High but would win the following two.

The ‘Dores fell behind early as Vancleave took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second to kick things off. From there on, it was a back-and-forth affair that showed the best of these two teams. The Bulldogs had a 4-3 lead going into the top of the 6th which would be a crucial point in the game.

Lafayette would plate four runs to take a 7-4 lead, giving Vancleave only six outs to work with and a sizeable deficit to overcome.

Which they would. Vancleave loaded the bases in the bottom of the 7th inning and knotted it up at 7-7, nearly winning it on a hard-hit ground ball that was fielded just in time. A tense four extra-innings followed with neither side able to scratch across a run.

Top of the 12th and Lafayette was able to change that, getting one across and in position to add more as they had second and third with 1 out. A tremendous play by the Vancleave third baseman where he snagged a line-drive and doubled the runner off of third ended the inning.

Despite putting the tying run on base, Lafayette was able to close the door and get a crucial win.

Game 2 is slated for 7 p.m. on Friday, May 24 at Trustmark Park in Pearl.