Never-Say-Die Lafayette erases seven-run deficit on its
way to second straight walk-off win
The rotund, cherry-cheeked, blimp of a woman must have a
sore throat because the fat lady hasn’t sung for
Lafayette, Louisiana in the past two days.
After coming back from a 2-0 deficit in the bottom of
the sixth yesterday against Westwood, Maine, manager
Mike Conrad’s Lafayette squad was down 8-1 in the third
inning against Owensboro, Kentucky before rallying to
score eight runs in the final four frames, including a
game-winning run in the bottom of the sixth that beat
the Great Lakes champs 9-8 for its second straight
“It’s a tribute to these kids,” Conrad said. “I told
them, ‘We’re down by seven, we need to shut them down
defensively and chip away. We don’t need to get [all the
runs] in one inning.’”
Lafayette scored one run in the third and sixth, two in
the fourth, and four in a bloated fifth inning that saw
Lafayette send all nine batters to the plate.
“I think we stunned [Owensboro] in the [fifth] when we
put up four,” Conrad said. “That might have set them on
their heels a little bit. We’ve got such patient
hitters. They just wait for pitches that they can
The big inning started when yesterday’s hero against
Maine, Connor Toups, singled with one out. A single by
Andrew Stevenson and a fielder’s choice by winning
pitcher Sam Scofield loaded the bases. Andreas Duplantis
then singled in two to cut the deficit to 8-6.
An RBI groundout by Jordan Romero pulled Lafayette to
within one run, before Alex Miller knocked in Duplantis
with a single to tie the game.
That set the stage for Duplantis in the bottom of the
After back-to-back two-out singles by Stevenson and
Scofield put runners on the corners, Duplantis hit a
hard hopper to third. The throw from third skipped in
the dirt past the first base bag, allowing Duplantis to
reach safely and Stevenson to race in from third with
the winning run, capping the improbable seven-run
“In Little League Baseball, there’s never a safe lead,”
said Owensboro manager Ricky Hale, whose team feel to
0-2 in pool play.
Hale’s team jumped out to the early lead against
Lafayette starter Jace Conrad.
Jace Conrad walked leadoff hitter Bryson Morrow and
surrendered a two run shot to Dalton West, who lined a
fastball just inside the foul pole in left field,
staking Owensboro to a 2-0 lead only two batters into
Lafayette struck back in the bottom half of the frame,
loading the bases against Owensboro starter Matt
hitter Stevenson hit a hard chopper to short that ate up
Luke Daugherty, allowing Stevenson to reach base safely.
One out later, Jace Conrad tried to help his own cause
when he smacked the ball past an outstretched Daugherty
and legged out a two-base hit when the ball carried all
the way to the wall.
After a walk loaded the bases, Toups hit an RBI
groundout to second, slicing the Owensboro lead in half.
The inning ended when Ryan Bergeron hit a hard grounder
to Daugherty, who ranged to his right, backhanded the
ball and fired to first for the out.
In the top of the next inning, Daugherty connected for
his second home run in as many days for Owensboro, a
three-run blast that landed in the bullpen in left
The play developed after Owensboro loaded the bases on
two walks and a single with West again coming to the
plate with another chance to do some damage. West
promptly smashed a base hit that knocked in his third
and fourth RBI of the game and gave his team a 4-1 lead
before Daugherty’s homer made it 7-1.
Owensboro then made it 8-1 on a Morrow RBI single in the
third before Lafayette again loaded the bases against
Johnson in the bottom of the inning.
Two singles and a dropped pop-up by Johnson left the
bases juiced with no outs. After Johnson threw two
pitches (both balls) to Tyler Douglass, Hale elected to
pull Johnson in favor of Nolan Miller.
“Having known Matt, I thought he was kind of melting and
thought it was time to make a move,” Hale said. “I’ve
never saw a pitcher who wanted to come out of the game.
He wanted the baseball and he’d done a real good job. I
thought if we’d throw strikes the rest if the way we
could hold on.”
Miller threw a ball and a strike before Douglass hit his
3-1 offering to center for a single. The base hit scored
Alex Miller, but Brenn Conrad was caught in no man’s
land between third and home and was thrown out at the
plate. That seemed to be all Miller needed to settle
down, as he immediately struck out the next two batters
to extinguish the threat.
Brenn Conrad redeemed himself in the next inning by
turning on a Miller fastball and cranking it down the
right field line for a two-run triple that cut the
Owensboro lead to 8-4 and brought Lafayette one step
closer to a comeback victory.
“These kids are battlers, they don’t quit,” Coach Conrad
said. “We’ve been down in the past and had to battle
back. We’re here for a reason.”
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