DEQUINCY — Gunner Gearen asked for the ball with DeQuincy’s season on the line and delivered, tossing a two-hitter to lead DeQuincy to a 3-2 win over Many in the winner-take all Game 3 of the Class 2A regional round series.
No. 4 DeQuincy (22-10) will host No. 5 Loreauville (19-8) in a quarterfinal series this weekend, with the winner advancing to the state championship tournament in Sulphur next week.
Gearen also won Game 1 of the series, a 7-4 DeQuincy win. In that game, Gearen struck out 11.
This time the ace relied more on guile and his defense, whiffing five batters.
DeQuincy head coach Brady Carlson said Gearen’s competitive personality showed.
“He was on three days rest, but we talked yesterday and he wanted the ball,” Carlson said. “He is a bulldog and a very competitive young man.”
Many (18-17) took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Keaton Oxley tripled to right field and scored on a groundout by Issac Davis.
DeQuincy tied the game in the bottom of the third inning when Jacob Goidfriend led off with an infield single and scored on a single to center by Reese Ashworth. A second runner was thrown out at third on the play to end the inning.
DeQuincy went ahead 3-1 in the fifth inning. Gavin Gary singled and scored on a hit by Hayden Cooley. Cooley scored on a throwing error.
Many got within one in the sixth when Jayvion Smart walked, stole second and scored on a balk.
Carlson said his team was used to playing tight games.
“We played a harder schedule early in the season,” he said. “A couple years ago we were upset in the second round and I wanted to be sure we were battle-tested.
“The. District helped a great deal. We still have three teams (Kinder and Rosepine) left and Vinton almost made it as well.”
Carlson said the tough schedule showed his team had the mental toughness needed to win big.
“I learned they were fighters,” he said. “They never panicked and they stayed behind each other, always supported each other. They are a close group of kids.”