South Beauregard's Chance Clark slides into second base, kicking the ball loose from the Yellow Jackets' Brad Whittington, No. 17, Thursday night in Iowa. Clark was called out. (Rick Hickman / American Press)
Last Modified: Monday, April 21, 2014 11:52 AMIOWA — Nick Lee and Dayton Laborde gave the exact definition of a pitchers’ duel at Jacket Diamond Thursday night.
But in the end it was Lee and the South Beauregard Golden Knights who stood victorious, 3-0 after nine grueling innings.
Lee (10-0) pitched all nine innings, picking up the complete-game shutout. He struck out 11 and surrendered one hit to Dayton Sonnier along the way.
“Nick was phenomenal tonight, and I didn’t expect anything less of him,” said South Beauregard head coach Jeremy Deville. “He pitched his tail off, but so did (Laborde) who did a heck of a job.”
Laborde was more than enough competition for Lee, keeping pace for 82⁄3 innings. Through the first eight innings Laborde gave up two hits and walked one. But in the ninth inning the Knights went on a rally to finally put some points on the board.
“Dayton has been good all year,” said Iowa head coach Sean Richard. “He is hungry, he wants success and he has a lot of heart. He always lays it all on the line for this team.”
Laborde finished with nine strikeouts.
South Beauregard (23-3, 7-0) stands two games clear atop the District 4-3A standings, needing one win to clinch at least a share of the championship.
“This was definitely the biggest game of the year, but every game is the biggest game of the year when you take them one at a time,” Deville said.
For Iowa (20-6, 5-2) there is still hope in the title race, but it will need to beat the Knights in Longville and get some help from St. Louis or Jennings next week.
After the seven regulation innings were over, the Knights got a man on base in the top of eighth when D.J. Hardwick reached on an error. He was sacrificed to second and advanced to third on a fielder’s choice but was stranded. It was the first time that a runner from either reached third base.
Lee opened the bottom half of the inning by walking Hunter Roussell, but made up for it by striking out the next three Yellow Jackets.
After Chance Clark grounded out to second base to start the top of the ninth, Jansen Fontenot walked and stole second.
Josh Hunt flied out to right field for the second out before Iowa intentionally walked Lee, leaving the game in Brandon Hare’s hands. Hare swung at the first pitch from Laborde, lining it into left field for a single to score Fontenot.
“They walked Nick Lee, who is our big middle-of-the-lineup guy and that left it up to Brandon Hare,” Deville said. “Hare is a senior and he did exactly what he is supposed to do in that situation.”
Hardwick added an insurance run two pitches later when he pelted a double down the third-base line to score Lee. Hare later scored on a passed ball for the third and final run.
“Two-out hits have been the story of the year for us,” Deville said. “We have been coming through with two outs whether it’s the middle innings or at the end.”
Hare finished 2-for-4, the only batter with more than one hit.