Gamble pays off for Sulphur

SULPHUR — With a three-run lead, Sulphur head coach Sam Moore took a high-risk gamble in the bottom of the seventh in the second game of the No. 4 Tors’ Class 5A best-of-three quarterfinal series Saturday, and it paid off.

Moore brought in Kohl Navarre, the expected Game 3 starter if the series went that far, and the junior did not disappoint. He earned his seventh save of the season in a 6-3 win over No. 5 Zachary as the Tors advanced to next week’s state tournament.

Navarre experienced a forearm cramp not long after taking the mound. But after a quick checkup from the coaching staff and trainer, he walked a batter, then struck out the next two to complete the series sweep. He is 7-for-8 in save opportunities.

“We saw the opportunity to use him,” Moore said. “That is how much belief we have in Kohl Navarre.”

Sulphur (32-7) will play in the semifinals for the first time since 2018 and will play No. 8 St. Amant, which stunned No. 1 Barbe, at 6 p.m. Thursday.

“It feels great,” Moore said. “We told them last week that if they get 34 wins, they are state champions. We are at 32 right now. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and they see it, so two more.”

The Tors pitching staff held Zachary (25-15) to two hits. Starter Carson Cauvin went 51/3 innings in a no-decision, allowing three runs on two hits. Landon Arrant (5-1), pitching for the second time since returning from an injury, earned the win after getting the last two outs in the sixth.

After falling behind 2-0 in the first inning, the Tors fought their way back with two big two-out hits in the fourth. Luke Benoit hit an RBI single, and Gunner Gremillion drove one up the middle to bring home a pair of runs for the lead.

“We knew it was going to be a war but we didn’t give up,” Moore said.

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