Koonce in control: Rams deliver clutch two-out RBIs

Warren Arceneaux

WESTLAKE — Ethan Koonce held Church Point’s offense in check and the Westlake Rams delivered big hits with two outs en route to a 6-1 Class 3A bi-district playoff win on Tuesday.

The No. 11 Rams (23-11) advanced to face No. 6 West Feliciana in a best-of-three series this weekend in the regional round. West Feliciana will host the series. The Saints advanced with a 12-1 win over No. 27 St. James.

Brady Pedersen set the tone early for the Rams, singling to lead off the first then stealing second and third before scoring on an error.

The Rams extended the lead to 3-0 in the third inning when Cullen Hamilton singled to drive in a run then scored while Pedersen was caught in a rundown between first and second.

Westlake scored three in the fourth. Pedersen singled to score Bryce Hood and Hamilton, then scored on a fielding error.

Five of the six Westlake runs scored with two outs. The Rams stole seven bases.

“It’s good that happened tonight, because that was kind of a stigma for us all season,when we needed those big hits to break a game open, we couldn’t get it,” Rams head coach Blake Reed said.

“We were able to run tonight and that has been our forte. They caught us once but we didn’t let that slow us down. We are going to challenge you to make a play.”

Koonce threw six scoreless innings, striking out six and allowing two hits and two walks. The Bears threatened once, loading the bases with two outs in the fifth, but Koonce forced a pop-up to end the inning.

“He was locating his fastball, that’s his pitch,” Reed said of Koonce. “It’s not a record-breaker, but it’s heavy. He can dominate when he can keep it in the strike zone and he can use the curveball to compliment it when he needs it.”

No. 22 Church Point (12-14) scored in the seventh on a Chandler Guillory single to score Garrett Briscoe.””

The Rams’ Ethan Koonce delivers a pitch against Church Point during a Class 3A bi-district playoff game Tuesday in Westlake. Koonce was scoreless through six innings.

Rick Hickman / American Press

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