Doyle baseball vs. Avoyelles Public Charter: Andrew Yuratich

Winning pitcher Andrew Yuratich (6) of Doyle allowed two hits in a 2-0 victory over Avoyelles Public Charter.

LIVINGSTON – Doyle defeated Avoyelles Public Charter 2-0 in the opening game of their Class 2A state quarterfinal best-of-3 series, but had to walk the tightrope to do it.

The Tigers pitching allowed a baserunner in every inning but was able to strand eight and record some huge outs on the base paths, wriggling out of danger at every turn.

Doyle (27-11) scored its two runs off seven hits but stranded 10 runners. It may not have been either team’s best performance of the season, but Doyle coach Tim Beatty was happy his team got one step win closer to the state tournament in Sulphur.

Doyle baseball vs. Avoyelles Public Charter: Braden Keen

Doyle second baseman Braden Keen (4) applies the tag to Jackson Ragusa (1) of Avoyelles Public Charter.

“We’re just trying to win ball games in the playoffs,” Beatty said. “We’re just trying to advance. We’re trying to keep our guys hungry, keep them focused, keep them excited.”

Doyle and Avoyelles resume their series at 4 p.m. Friday with an if necessary game scheduled for 7 p.m.

Doyle’s starting pitcher Andrew Yuratich finished with a somewhat unlikely complete game shutout. He allowed seven hits and walked four batters while striking out five. He admits to losing focus at the beginning of each inning but was able to buckle down when his team needed him to do so.

“My main focus was to not add on to the baserunners I was getting,” Yuratich said. “I was walking lead-off batter and stuff like that. I just had to let my defense play and roll some double plays. They were playing really good.”

Doyle baseball vs. Avoyelles Public Charter: Mason Davis

Shortstop Mason Davis (2) of Doyle makes an off-balance throw to first base.

Said Beatty, “Andrew Yuratich, what can I say about him?” He just competed. I was getting a little worried because his pitch count was getting up, but he was still strong there in the seventh inning.”

Doyle took the lead when a leadoff single from Cole Mack in the second. He stole second, took third on a balk and scored on Logan Turner’s sacrifice fly.

Doyle added a much-needed insurance run in the sixth after Brock Adams led off the inning with a single. With two outs, Cade Watts connected on a pitch that he sent it the left fielder’s head for an RBI-triple and 2-0 lead.

Avoyelles (17-6) led off the seventh with a single from Seth Rousseau into left-center field, but he was gunned down trying to extend his single into a double. Yuratich allowed a walk after but was able to complete his shutout.

“It feels great going into the next game,” Yuratich said. “We’ll have a big confidence boost. They didn’t hit great and didn’t score many runs. Hopefully we can jump on them early Friday.”

Beatty added, “I think it’s a little statement. It’s not going to be easy. We have to come out here ready to see another left-hander and hopefully win another 2-0 game.”

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