By Lori Lyons, Rougarou Writer


Most celebratory dogpiles start and end up on the pitcher’s mound. But the Baton Rouge Rougarou took theirs all the way into right field Wednesday night.

That’s how far the team bounced with Joshua Shelly after he lined a single up the middle to score the game-tying and winning runs in the ninth inning, capping a 3-run rally that gave the Rougarou a 5-4 win — its first win of the season. Shelly also tried — and failed — to avoid the huge cooler of ice heading his way.

The Rougarou trailed 4-2 going into the final frame and had left bases loaded in the eighth. Jason Hawkins led off the ninth with a single then Jackson Walker walked. With two outs, T.J. Grines singled to advance the runners. But Hawkins rounded third and headed for home, sliding under the tag at the plate. That set the stage for Shelly, who sent a hard hit ball into left field to drive in Grines and Walker and set off a wild celebration.

“It’s always fun to win in a walk-off,” Coach Jeff “Rooster” Southall said. “I’ve pressed the fact that we will play all nine innings every game and pitch with command and take professional at-bats. We did that tonight and it paid off.”

After being held to two hits in Tuesday’s season-opener, the Rougarou got nine off of four Victoria pitchers, who walked only two and combined to strike out 11.

Starter Kade Linn threw five innings, allowing seven hits, walking one and striking out five. Hayden Oglesby, who pitched to only one batter in the eighth inning, got the win. Jack Hill retired the Generals in order in the top of the ninth.

After Victoria took a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth, the Rougarou tied it in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Derrald Moore Jr. walked and stole second. Austin O’Malley reached on an error. Will Safford then singled to score Moore. O’Malley advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a grounder by Sully Stringer.

Southall added that his pitchers kept the team in the game until the Rougarou bats came to life late. Baton Rouge used five pitchers who gave up nine hits, walked five and struck out 11. There were eight wild pitches in the game, however, which helped Victoria score a run in the fifth to retake the lead and another in the sixth.

“The boys are beginning to relax and learn each other and, more importantly, they’re coming together as a team and playing for US, the Rougarou,” Southall said.