Jaxon Bentzler hit a walk-off home run to lead off the seventh inning Sunday afternoon to power Northwood to a 4-3 defeat of visiting Tioga in the LHSAA Select Division I second round of the baseball playoffs, sending the Falcons on to the quarterfinals.
It came after the sophomore pitched the Falcons to a Game 2 8-2 win on Friday after they dropped the first game of the best-of-three series, 6-0.
Northwood, the No. 5 seed in the bracket, trailed the entire game Sunday after giving up two first-inning runs to Tioga, the No. 12 seed. Trailing 3-2 going to the sixth inning, Tucker McCabe scored pinch-runner Tyre Cody with a sacrifice fly to tie the game 3-3 and set up Bentzler’s heroics.
After the Indians’ two early runs, Northwood sophomore pitcher Christian Blackmon allowed only a single run in the fourth while going the distance for the win. He allowed six hits, walked one and struck out six.
McCabe’s sixth-inning RBI was his second of the game, after he drove in Mason Welch with a single in the fourth inning to pull the Falcons to within 3-2.
Bentzler was the only Falcon with multiple hits with two in three at-bats. His pitching line in Friday’s win was five hits allowed in 6 2/3 innings, two runs, two walkers and six strikeouts.
Hayden Phipps had a pair of doubles as Northwood (29-8) had only five hits but walked five times.
Northwood became only the third local team to advance after the weekend of second round of games. The Falcons will now travel to New Orleans to face No. 13 seed Archbishop Rummel.
Byrd (23-14) qualified for the quarterfinals of the Select Division I bracket as well, defeating host Brother Martin in Game 3 Friday night 16-5. The No. 10 Yellow Jackets will go back to New Orleans to play No. 2 Jesuit late this week.
Calvary was the only local team to survive and advance on Saturday, pounding Fisher 18-0 in the Select Division III bracket. The No. 6 Cavaliers, now 26-10, will be on the road to Crowley to play No. 3 Notre Dame.
Saturday was not a good day, though, for the other four local teams, all from District 1-5A.
In the Non-Select Division I bracket, No. 9 Parkway fell to No. 8 St. Amant 13-1 in Game 3 after evening its series with an 11-1 Game 2 win. No. 20 Benton dropped a 9-1 decision to No. 4 Sam Houston after a tough 2-1 loss on Friday. Haughton, the 10 seed, dropped both games with No. 7 Neville in Monroe Saturday 9-2 and 1-0 after taking the series lead with a 3-1 decision on Friday.
In Select Division I, No. 4 Captain Shreve lost 5-4 in 10 innings to Rummel to be eliminated. Evangel, the No. 13 seed in Select Division II, fell to No. 4 Teurlings Catholic 13-5 in Game 3 after evening the series with a 2-0 win in the second game.
Here is the schedule of the next round of games involving Shreveport-Bossier teams:
Select Division I
No. 5 Northwood (29-8) at No. 13 Rummel (21-14), TBD.
No. 10 Byrd (23-14) at No. 2 Jesuit (27-7), Friday, 6 p.m.; Saturday, Noon and if necessary 3 p.m.
Select Division III
No. 6 Calvary (26-10) at No. 3 Notre Dame (26-5), Thursday, 6 p.m.; Friday, 5 p.m. and if necessary 7 p.m.