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Bobcats sweep H-J with strong Longron complete game

By Caleb Adams

Orange Leader

BEAUMONT – For the second straight game it all boiled down to the seventh inning and once again it was the Orangefield Bobcats that prevailed as they downed the Hardin-Jefferson Hawks 2-1 behind a strong complete game mound performance by Coop Longron to sweep their Class 4A Region III Regional Quarterfinal series at Lamar University’s Vincent-Beck Stadium Friday night.

The Bobcats (23-7-2) squeezed past the Hawks (24-9-1) 3-2 in Game One Thursday night.

The Bobcats now move on to face the Rusk Eagles in the Regional Semifinals next week. Rusk (22-6), the District 17-4A champions, defeated China Spring in a grueling 13-inning one-gamer 3-1 in 13 innings Thursday night to advance.

Both starting pitchers had good starts in Game Two, going back and forth. Both teams would get runners on but each pitcher did a great job of handling each situation and getting to the next frame, making runs hard to come by. It would be a scoreless game until the Bobcat offense found gold in the top of the seventh inning, thanks to a couple wild pitches.

The Bobcats gave Longron, the lefty, the start for his first playoff start after only having a few starts throughout the season. He dealt a great game, getting things going early and finding his rhythm as the game went on.

Longron allowed seven hits, two walks and one run while recording five strikeouts in seven innings. Longron got into trouble in the seventh inning, but was able to keep the Hawks’ surge to a minimum as he took care of the final frame and clinched the playoff series win for the Bobcats.

The Hawks gave the ball to Braylen Edwards. Much like Longron, Edwards came out ready, not allowing a hit until the third inning. The most important part was how he kept the pace of the game how he wanted it throughout the game, taking time to gather himself and be sure he was ready for each pitch.

Edwards would go six and a third innings for the Hawks. He recorded five strikeouts with four walks, two hits allowed and two runs scored. Edwards had a great start, but in the sixth the pitches started to get away from allowing two back to back walks before getting taken out with one out recorded.

Offensively for the Bobcats, only Macoy Marze and Kolbie Sowell would connect for hits in this game. Each would score a single, but aside from that it was a quiet game for the Bobcat sticks. Their most important offense came in the seventh inning, thanks to a prime opportunity presented by the Hawks pitching.

The Bobcats took a late 7th inning lead thanks to a couple wild pitches and some speed on the bases. Gunner Jones and Jason Bodin would draw back to back walks, and Bryce Bergeron pinch ran for Jones. Ryan Trahan would hit into an infield groundout, but that moved the runners to second and third base. During the next at bat a pass ball would allow Bergeron to score from third and Bodin advanced to third. The next pitch would also be a wild pitch sending Bodin home as well for two quick runs as the Bobcats took an important 2-0 lead heading into the bottom of the 7th inning.

The Hawks would not go down that easy as they tried to come back and win in the last frame. Jacob Weldon walked to start, followed by a single from Dominick Breaux to put runners on second and first base. A double from Hunter Fontenot sent Weldon home but Breaux would get thrown out at third base for the second out of the inning. Longron would deal a pop out to end the game and hold on to the game, 2-1 over the Hawks.