Bears scratch out 1-0 season opening win over Baton Rouge

Published 9:55 am Thursday, February 9, 2023

HAMMOND, LA — If Tuesday’s game defines the 2023 Bear Baseball team, then
determination and grit are words that can be used as a resilient Southwest team found the right
combination offensively in the end, out-dueling Baton Rouge in a pitching battle to pull out a 1-0
win. The game was played at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond.

“Our pitchers did a great job,” Southwest head coach Jack Edmonson said. “Our whole team
competed all night, pitchers did a great job. We did a good job of making them beat us and we
came out on top because of that.”

On the mound, the combination of starter Luke Lirette, Caiden Necaise and Myles Green shut
down Baton Rouge. They combined to allow only five hits and four walks while striking out
eight. In addition to the great work on the mound, catcher Nolan Walther also shined behind the
plate throwing out runners at third on two different occasions, halting BRCC scoring threats.

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Offensively, Southwest struggled a bit to find consistency. The first Bear hit came in the third as
Matthew Latino led off the inning with a single. But the next three batters were retired in order.

For the second-consecutive inning, Southwest led off with a single as it was Hunter Harrell’s
turn to do so. But he was caught stealing during the ensuing at bat. During the same inning,
Southwest put two on via walks but neither could touch home.

It was Southwest’s most significant scoring threat until the eighth, when Harrell and Conner
McHenry led off with singles but the inning wrapped two at bats later on a double play.

The double play gave the momentum back to Baton Rouge and it appeared that it would help
result in a run scored, especially after a triple. But Green struck out the ensuing Baton Rouge
batter getting Southwest out of the jam and keeping the game scoreless.

Christian Kell pinch hit to kick off the next inning and the move worked for Southwest. After
Kell walked, stole second and advanced to third on an error, ensuing batter Tyler Otts stepped up
with a golden opportunity. And the Parklane Academy alum delivered, roping a line drive to left,
allowing Kell to score and putting the Bears on the board first.

“I was just trying to put the ball in play and give my team something to work with and hopefully
move the runner over,” Otts said. “And when he got to third, that was really big for us.”

With the lead and the momentum, Green came back out in the ninth and retired three of the four
batters he faced sealing the win for Southwest.

Harrell and Latino led the Bear offense with two hits apiece.

The Bears return home Friday to host Mineral Area at 6 p.m.