With No. 2 West Monroe’s 5-4 victory against No. 19 West Ouachita, the Rebels secured perfection in district play.
Boasting a 10-0 record in the district in 2021, the Rebels claimed their fifth straight district championship (excluding the canceled 2020 season) under head coach Wade Simoneaux.
“I like the 10-0, but we want to win it all,” Simoneaux said. “We’re not done yet.”
The 10th victory might’ve been the toughest to come by.
Down 4-2 in the sixth inning, Alex Sikes drew a walk to start the inning and Trey Hawsey singled to put two on with one out. That’s when Tanner Young ripped a shot to centerfield for an RBI double. After Cole Brasher walked to load the bases, Kade Pittard followed with another walk for the game-tying run. With the bases juiced with one out, the Rebels took their first lead of the game when Josh Pearson delivered a deep fly ball to right field for the sacrifice fly.
“I told him to get the ball to the outfield,” Simoneaux said. “I told him, ‘Hey don’t do too much. Get the ball to the outfield and get us the lead.’”
Jubilation on one side, sure, but there was frustration on the other. West Ouachita head coach Mitch Thomas threw his arms up in frustration during the back-to-back walks sequence that tied the game. Thomas walked out to the mound to pull Landon Clampit in the sixth after Clampit allowed five runs on five hits and four walks.
“I thought Landon threw his guts out tonight,” Thomas said. “I’m so proud of them. I told him, ‘All you want is the same pitch to be the same strike for seven innings, but it’s baseball. Sometimes it’s not.’ I thought he made some good pitches at the end, but it just didn’t go our way.”
Earlier in the contest, West Ouachita threatened in the second inning after Hudson Shepherd reached on an error and Grant Hofler followed with a single. With two runners on with one out, Rebel pitcher Seth Edwards delivered a strikeout and drew a groundout to end the inning.
West Ouachita’s defense was flawless in the early frames. After Alex Sikes reached on a walk, the Chiefs promptly got a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning and enter the third engaged in a scoreless tie.
“I tip my hat to their kid cause he pitched a good ballgame,” Simoneaux said. “He threw his curveball for a strike, threw his changeup for a strike and spotted up his fastball. He handled our hitters pretty much half the game.”
Drew Blaylock relieved Edwards on the mound for the Rebels in the third, as Simoneaux wanted four different pitchers to see action before postseason play. Blaylock struggled to find the zone and West Ouachita took advantage with three walks in an inning that produced three runs. The first run came on a play at the plate when Cody Edmiston put the ball in play with runners on second and third. Blaylock threw it to catcher Sikes, who made the tag before dropping the ball. The umpire initially ruled Kade Parker out at the plate but after talking with the other umpire changed the call.
The Chiefs scored their second run when Grant Hofler drew a walk with the bases loaded, and Keelin Rawls knocked in two more with a single that followed.
Hawsey entered in the fourth inning and ran into trouble in the fifth. After loading the first two batters he faced with walks, Hawsey struck out three consecutive batters to get out of the inning with no added damage.
"Midway in the season, Hawsey had an arm situation, and we had to sit him for a couple of weeks," Simoneaux said. "I've been trying to pitch him and haven't been able to use him, but he has good stuff. He's a three-pitch lefty with conviction."
Brasher and Pearson singled in the fifth before Reed Eason scored Brasher on a sacrifice fly. That drew the Rebels within two entering the final two innings of the ballgame.
Brasher pitched the final two innings of the game and gave up no runs on no hits and no walks.
While Thomas was upset with some of the calls throughout the game, he placed the blame for the loss on a lack of execution.
“We have to overcome adversity no matter how bad umpiring has been,” Thomas said. “Tonight was about execution. We have guys on third base with less than two outs, and we also had a wild pitch that we didn’t go on. Things happen. Calls go against you. But we didn’t execute, so it’s on us.”
Game 1: West Monroe 7, West Ouachita 6
Despite committing seven errors, the Rebels were able to overcome their own miscues to beat West Ouachita on the road Wednesday evening.
Pearson came through yet again when the LSU signee launched a solo bomb in the sixth inning to break a 6-6 tie. Pearson led the team with a 2-for-2 day.
Reed Eason accounted for two hits and doubled in the victory for the Rebels.
On the West Ouachita side, Landon Clampit had one of his better outings of the year when he went 3-for-4 with a double. Clampit accounted for half of West Ouachita’s six hits in the razor-thin loss.
Kade Parker and Lane Little battled bump, as the showdown between aces took a backseat to back-and-forth scoring.
Little claimed the victory, allowing just six runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks. Little struck out six in the victory.
Parker allowed seven earned runs on seven hits and four walks. He struck out six in the loss.