After a rough start, Hunter Rabalais fell into his groove on the mound to lead Anacoco to the second round of the Class B tournament.
Rabalais struck out 14 over seven innings as Anacoco defeated Monterey 7-2 Tuesday night in the opening round of the playoffs.
Monterey scored two runs in the top of the first inning on a pair of singles as the Indians found themselves in an early hole.
"I thought, overall, he pitched well," Anacoco head coach Casey Johnson said. "In the first inning, he wasn't really throwing the baseball. He needed to get on top and drive through the zone to actually throw the ball harder. In the second inning, he came out and did that. That's when he started finding success.
"Normally, from pitch one, he does pretty well. He hasn't thrown for a week and a half, probably. I think he just needed to get loose."
In the bottom of the first inning, No. 13 Anacoco tied it back up with an RBI doubles by Rabalais and Kellen Haymon.
The Indians took the lead in the fourth inning when Jett Rodgers grounded into a double play with the bases loaded, but it allowed Landry Alligood to score.
The next batter, Nolan Perkins, reached on an error to get Micah Keene across the plate to go up 4-2.
In the bottom of the next inning, Zach Benevage scored on a passed ball, and Alligood scored Gentry Bennett on a sac fly to extend the lead.
"All year long, we have been within one run or tied, but in the sixth or seventh inning, something happens," Johnson said. "I kept preaching that we can't relax and putting the pressure on them."
In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Indians sealed the win on a sacrifice bunt by Noah Carroll to score Keene.
"We had to have good quality at-bats with minimal strikeouts," Johnson said. "We started putting the ball in play and scoring some runs."
With two outs and runners on the third and second in the top of the seventh, Rabalais picked off a runner at second for the final out.
Rabalais gave up just four hits and walked one batter during his time on the rubber.
The Indians move on to play No. 4 Choudrant in the second round at 5 p.m. on Monday on the road.
Anacoco features underclassmen, up and down the roster, and picking up multiple playoff wins bodes well for the future and the present.
"I preached all year long that we need to win five in a row," Johnson said. "For next year, I have some good eighth graders coming up, and Tyler Williams will be back – he's a junior that hurt his knee. I'm really excited for him to be back in the lineup. We're looking at a lot of success for here on out."