Pushing three runs across the board in the third inning, No. 12 seed Central-Baton Rouge took control of its playoff matchup with No. 21 Hahnville and maintained it for the game’s duration, capturing a 9-3 victory in the first round of the Class 5A baseball playoffs.
Central advances to round two, where it will face No. 5 Ruston.
The Tigers called upon Collin Zeringue in hopes the staff ace could help propel the team to another win after a very strong complete game performance in a victory over Destrehan in the week prior. Zeringue pounded the strikezone and walked no batters against five strikeouts, but Central was able to notch five runs on eight hits in his five innings of work.
Trailing 5-0 in the sixth inning, Hahnville started the makings of a rally with its season on the line. The offense’s bats silenced for five innings, Brandt Dupre and Vladimir Furl drew walks to start the sixth, then Talan Theriot singled to load the bases with no outs. Aiden Machado was hit by a pitch, forcing home a Tigers’ run to make it 5-1.
Central pitcher Jimmie Johnson dug in, striking out the next two batters before Colin Galland drew a walk to force home another run. But Johnson earned a strikeout from there to escape a major threat.
It was Central’s bats in the bottom of the sixth that all but put things away. Central (20-10) loaded the bases with one out before Johnson swung and connected for an RBI single. An error on a ball hit by Connor Cassels cleared the bases from there, with all three runners on base coming around to score and making it a 9-2 Central lead. Hahnville added a run in the top of the seventh but could draw no closer.
Johnson struck out 12 in his six innings of work to earn the win. He allowed two runs on four hits and five walks.
It ended Hahnville’s season with a record of 20-13. The Tigers entered the postseason playing red hot baseball, with 11 wins in its final 12 regular season contests and secured the District 7-5A championship last week.
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