St. Louis left fielder Zach Richard makes the diving catch for the out in the bottom of the fifth inning against Sam Houston Tuesday in Moss Bluff. (Rick Hickman / American Press)
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 12:22 PMMOSS BLUFF — The Sam Houston Broncos put themselves in the best possible situation for a comeback win Tuesday night, but couldn’t capitalize and St. Louis held on for a 4-2 win.
Heading into the bottom of the seventh inning the Saints (7-5) were clinging to the lead with the Broncos (7-6) gaining momentum after a slow start. To handle the task, St. Louis first-year head coach Stephen Wren called on closer Daniel Ortego.
Early in the inning, Ortego, who pitched five innings on Saturday, allowed the bases to get loaded with no outs.
However, he made up for the mistakes and forced Jake Cochran to ground out before having Peyton McLemore hit into a game-ending double play.
“(Ortego) is a bulldog out there and I told him before that I love his attitude because he means business when he gets up there and he gets the job done.” Wren said. “I wasn’t too worried until he got the bases loaded, but he threw strikes and got the outs we needed.”
The win builds plenty of momentum for the Saints, who travel this weekend to West Monroe for a tournament where they will be the lone non-5A team.
“This feels good,” Wren said. “We knew it would be a tough game; Sam Houston is always a very good team. We knew they had quality pitchers and hitters. This was huge for us.”
For the Broncos, the loss set them back one more game after being one of the preseason favorites in Class 5A.
“We are definitely in a slump right now, but I still think this is a very good team,” said Broncos coach Brad Book. “I think this team could be as good as any that has ever come through Sam Houston, but we don’t have the confidence that we are that team right now.”
St. Louis set itself up by scoring three first-inning runs. Peyton Doumite, Ryan Palermo and Jack Boyer all hit singles in succession with one out before being driven in one by one as the inning progressed.
“We came in trying to get better and compete then we give up a three-spot in the first inning,” Book said. “It’s tough when you are down then get kicked while you are trying to get back up, figuratively speaking.”
The Saints increased their lead to 4-0 in the top of the fifth inning when Palermo drove in Dylan Greenman from second with his third hit.
The Broncos answered in the bottom half of the inning by scoring two runs out of a bases-loaded situation.
Greenman picked up the win. Sam Houston’s Peyton Johnson took the loss.