Barbe tops Sulphur to advance to State Championship, Sam Houston falls

Published: May. 12, 2023 at 12:30 AM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - McMurry Park was packed on Thursday night as fans from around the state flocked to Sulphur for two powerhouse Non-Select Division I Semi-Final games. Barbe and Sulphur, arguably the biggest rivals in the state squared off with LSU signee Jake Brown on the mound for Sulphur, and LSU commit Landon Victorian on the mound for Barbe, and just a couple of feet over, the reigning State Champion West Monroe Rebels were taking on the Sam Houston Broncos, as the Broncos looked to get revenge after falling to West Monroe in the State Quarterfinals last season.

Both games were supposed to begin around 5:00, but the weather pushed the 2:00 games back, forcing both games to begin between 6:45 and 7:15.

On Field 41, Sulphur struck first as Cooper Devall brought in a run with a ground out to first base that put the Golden Tors up 1-0 in the second inning, but that lead was short-lived.

In the bottom half of the second Kasen Bellard knocked a triple to center field that got the Bucs’ dugout back into it, and then the very next batter, Presley Courville, put the Buccaneers ahead with a moonshot to left centerfield that brought in Bellard from third giving Barbe a 2-1 lead and they would never look back.

The Buccaneers added four more runs as they would go on to win it 5-1 behind a masterclass from Landon Victorian on the mound who pitched nearly a complete game before hitting the pitch count, he went 6 2/3 innings allowing just one run, and Seth Hebert shut the door as the Buccaneers won it to advance to the State Championship.

“I’m so happy for our guys, it’s so emotional, I’ve got tears of joy, Landon (Victorian) you know, freak thing, he gets hurt, we didn’t know if he was even going to be able to pitch, it’s been a crazy 24 hours but, I’m so proud of our team,” said Barbe head coach Glenn Cecchini on the Buccaneers’ win.

Sulphur’s loss also means head coach Sam Moore’s illustrious career has come to an end after he announced he would be retiring at season’s end, and coach Cecchini discussed his relationship with Moore after Barbe’s win.

“I love Sam Moore, he’s like a brother to me, you know we’ve been out to eat numerous times, we’ve coached summer league teams, I’ve known for 30-plus years, I love that man, and as excited as I am for us, I do hurt for him. Some day it’s going to be my last day, and I’d hate to go out like that I love him, and to me, he’s the most successful coach in Sulphur history, he’s a great guy and he’s done an amazing job.”

As for Sam Houston on Field 40, the Broncos got out to an early lead as Ashton Bultron hit an RBI single through the right side to give Sam Houston a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Then in the fourth inning, the Broncos added to their lead with a sacrifice fly and then Sam Ardoin put the Broncos up 3-0 with an RBI single of his own.

In the sixth inning, West Monroe showed signs of life as Trey Hawsey ripped an RBI double down the left field line that brought in Hayden Federico from first to cut Sam Houston’s lead down to two.

That’s how the seventh inning would begin as Sam Houston led 3-1, but the Rebels loaded the bases with no outs, and they cut the lead down to one with a hit by pitch that brought in a runner from third, and then a Sam Houston error in centerfield tied the ballgame up as West Monroe still had the bases loaded with none away.

Then John Pearson stepped up to the plate and put the game away as he hit a single through the right side of the infield bringing in the game-winning run from third as the Rebels walked it off, ending Sam Houston’s season for the second consecutive year.

With it, West Monroe advanced to the State Championship game where they will face off with Barbe on Field 41 Saturday, May 13th, at 5:00.