The Port Allen Pelicans gained an early lead and held off The Church Academy's late surge to earn a 6-4 win Tuesday night in Port Allen.
"It was really exciting. It was the first time we got to see our guys compete in a close game competitively," said Port Allen head coach Brian Bass. "So far the games where the other team is playing well we’re not and if the other team’s not, we are. It was nice to have a game where both teams were playing well."
Peyton Olinde's single in the bottom of the first inning scored the first run of the game. Port Allen (4-4) added two more runs in the inning off of Crusader errors to take a 3-0 lead.
The Church Academy responded with two runs in the second inning to cut the Port Allen lead to one run at 3-2.
A sacrifice fly in the third inning extended the Port Allen lead to 4-2. The Church Academy tacked on a run in the fifth thanks to a fielder's choice groundout.
The Crusaders threatened to tie the game with a runner on third base and two outs, but Port Allen pitcher Austin Nickens got out of the jam with a strikeout to end the inning.
Port Allen got one insurance run in the fifth and another in the sixth to extend the lead to 6-3. The first run came when Ki Clay laid a bunt down the third base line with the second run coming off an error.
The Crusaders scored a run in the seventh, but Olinde closed the game out on the mound with a strikeout.
Nickens pitched five innings and struck out eight batters. He also led the team with two RBIs. Olinde finished with three strikeouts in relief.
"Hats off to The Church (Academy)," Bass said. "They did a very good job of playing to the very end. I thought at one point we would walk away from this thing nice and easy, but the arm that they had was very good. Austin Nickens our pitcher came in and kept us in a game that we could win and thank God that we did."