It has been a season of drought-ending wins for the East Iberville Tigers, and that curse-breaking streak carried into the postseason for the young squad when they earned their first playoff victory since 2003. In fact, the Tigers haven’t seen the postseason since 2005.
Coach Moe Pointer knew it would not be an easy outing when he saw that his Tigers were pitted against parish rival White Castle Bulldogs. There is one thing he is certain of and that is beating a team in three straight games is a hard thing to do. EIHS had just handed White Castle two straight losses a few weeks back during the regular season.
“I told them not to take this thing lightly,” Pointer said. “Beating a team three times is tough, and those Bulldogs know how to win. I told them to play them like it’s the first time you’re playing them.”
It was White Castle that drew first blood, however, as the Bulldogs put up one run in the top of the first. East Iberville would respond with two of their own to claim a 2-1 lead after one inning.
WCHS blanked the second inning, but EIHS put up one insurance run in the second to extend their lead 3-1.
WCHS closed the gap by one run in the third, and it was not until the bottom of the fourth until any team scored. But when the Tigers scored, they scored big with three runs in the bottom of the fourth to open their lead 6-2.
The Bulldogs would muster up one more run in the first round tilt in the fifth, but the Tigers pulled away in the sixth with three more runs to bring the game to a final 9-3 win for East Iberville.
“It’s been a long road,” Pointer said. “I never thought we could make a playoff when I started. The potential in playing good ball calls for a lot of repetition and a lot of work.
“But those kids grind. They knew and they bought into what we were doing. It’s a good feeling for the kids and the community. It was overwhelming.”
Starting Bulldog pitcher D.J. Pierce took to the mound for White Castle and earned 21 first pitch strikes, three strikeouts, two hits and one RBI.
Tiger Blake Barbay was the team-leader in RBIs with three, and freshman pitcher Jake Harelson took the mound for the first six innings and racked up 10 strikeouts in the win.
“Harelson is a diamond in the rough,” Pointer said. “He did an outstanding job out there, though he was real nervous.”
Pointer brought in Izack Bailey (catcher) to close out the game from the mound. He earned a strikeout, threw the second out at first and the third was a fly out to close out the game. The key to the win, according to Pointer, is that the players did not panic in the big moments.
After the game, the young East Iberville players made sure to enjoy their rare celebration with a traditional drenching of coach Pointer in the team’s ice water.
“They got me on that one,” Pointer said. “I wasn’t even expecting it. Next thing I knew I was getting showered with cold water. It was a blessing.”
Back in 2003 when the Tigers earned their most recent postseason win over Sarepta (15-8), they advanced to round two to take on LaSalle, but fell 10-6.
Their opponent in round two on Monday? LaSalle. No matter what happens, Moe Pointer hopes their performance this season will help the school build the baseball program in the future.
The projected start time for the Tigers 14-year long revenge matchup is projected to begin at 5 p.m.