2012 - Bengals’ title run continues
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the fifth of a 12-story series celebrating LSUE’s baseball and softball national championships.
The Bengals won national championships in 2006, 2008 and 2010 so it seemed logical for LSU Eunice fans to expect another title in 2012 to keep the odd-numbered streak going.
After the 2010 championship, the 2011 team was pushed out of the Region 23 tournament with back-to-back losses to Jones County Junior College.
In 2012, the Bengals cruised through the Region 23 tournament with wins over Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (10-0), Itawamba Community College (17-2) and Hinds Community College (17-0).
LSUE entered the NJCAA Division II national tournament in Enid, Oklahoma, with a 52-4 record and 14-game win streak.
But the Bengals lost the first game of the tournament to Des Moines Area Community College, 4-3.
“I remember one of their pitchers set the strike out record at the national tournament against us as he struck out 15 guys,” Willis said. “We didn’t play very well in that first game.
After trailing through the first three innings, the Bengals tied the game with a Stuart Turner RBI single.
Landon Thibodeaux gave LSUE a 2-1 lead on a sixth inning solo home run.
LSUE gave up three ninth inning runs to fall 4-3 to Des Moines Area.
DMACC rallied in the final frame off an error, a RBI single and passed ball.
The Bengals tried to mount its own comeback in the bottom half of the ninth after a bases loaded walk but could not manufacture another run.
Brady Wilson threw a tough-luck 7.2 innings scattering one earned run off 10 hits while striking out three batters and issuing a pair of walks.
But against Scottsdale Community College, it was the Bengals’ turn for a close win.
“For us to get that first run against Scottsdale, Drew Forbes stole home,” Willis said, “and we had not stole home the entire year.
“I told our players as some point we are going to steal home and it could be when our season is on the line.
“Drew wasn’t the quickest runner and when I gave that sign it was against a left-handed pitcher and I remember he doubled-checked the sign – and yes I wanted him to steal and that gave us our first run.”
LSUE trailed 2-1 entering the eighth inning before Stuart Turner lifted a home run that hit the top of the left field brick wall before bouncing over.
“Stuart had a 3-2 count and their pitcher hung a slider and he ripped a two-out, two-run home run to give us the win.”
LSUE held off Scottsdale with great defensive plays by Adam Angelle and Garrett Deschamp. Cody Boutte picked up the win after going 8.2 innings allowing two runs on nine hits and four strikeouts.
After two close games to open the World Series, the Bengals then cruised to a 13-0 run rule to eliminate Des Moines Area from the tournament.
The Bengals were quick to score with back-to-back three run innings to start the game before delivering a knockout punch in the fifth with a seven spot.
Dalton Herrington (2-for-3) and Zac Hawkins (1-for-3) each drove in three runs to lead the Bengals.
Hawkins started the party with a 2-RBI single in the first followed by a two-RBI double from Herrington a frame later.
The Bengals sent 11 batters to the plate in the fifth with Adam Angelle, Herrington, Hawkins, Turner, Casey Rodrigue and Sam Carriere all driving in runs in that inning.
Brady Domangue pitched a complete game, four-hit shutout with five strikeouts and four walks.
LSUE then earned a 9-0 run-rule win over Madison College as the Bengals eliminated a third team from the tournament in three days.
Herrington blasted a three-run home run in the sixth inning to force the run-rule and cap off a 10-hit- barrage from the Bengals.
Forbes added another home run an inning prior with a solo shot down the right field line.
LSUE started the scoring in the first inning off an Adam Angelle run scored from a wild pitch and Zach Hawkins RBI.
The Bengals added three more in the fourth with Rodrigue’s 2-RBI single and Angelle driving in another.
Kirk Savoy tossed a two-hit shutout with five strikeouts.
LSUE advanced back to the National Championship game by taking down the defending champions Heartland, 11-3.
The Bengals scored first with a five-run third off just two hits, capitalizing off four walks and a hit batter.
Heartland answered with a mini-rally to make it a 5-3 game before LSUE put it away.
LSUE struck for four runs in the sixth inning on a Dalton Herrington home run along with Thibodeaux and Turner RBIs.
Turner was a perfect 3-for-3 with a double and two runs driven in.
Rodrigue provided the clincher with a sacrifice fly to score Landon Thibodeaux.
Brady Wilson improved to 14-1 on the year allowing just five hits and struck out eight in a complete game effort.
The Bengals faced local favorite Western Oklahoma State College in the title game.
“I remember all the fans at David Allen Memorial Ballpark were all rooting against us except for our fans who made the trip,” Willis said.
“Their team had a section of fans who were beating on drums and buckets
“Cody Boutte struck out seven of the first nine Western Oklahoma batters and finished with double-digit strikeouts,” the coach said.
“And when he struck out the side in the first inning, their dugout went silent and their fans went silent – and we took off from there.”
LSUE jumped out to a quick 5-1 lead after four innings.
The Bengals made the Pioneers pay on miscues in the first inning.
Adam Angelle scored off a wild pitch and Zach Hawkins drove in Sam Carriere who reached base thanks to an error to make it 2-0.
Carriere and Hawkins added two more in the third.
LSUE got single run production in the fourth, fifth and seventh from Rodrigue, Hawkins and Forbes.
Boutte allowed a solo home run while yielding just two other hits and striking out eight batters.
Boutte finished the game with 11 strikeouts in eight innings and fanned every Western batter at least once.
“We go from stealing home in the second game and that hadn’t happened all year, to Stuart hitting a big home run and then Boutte shutting down Western – all that was really cool,” Willis remembered.
Herrington was named NJCAA second team All-American honors and Turner earned Golden Glove honors.
The Bengals finished the season with a program best 57-5 record and their fourth national championship trophy.
Up Next: The 2013 LSUE softball national championship revisited.