WATSON -- Depending on who you ask, Metro League summer ball is either a big deal or not all that vital. What isn’t debatable, though, is that actually getting on the diamond is much more preferable than watching days go by without playing.
Walker and Live Oak had gone 12 days without live action until they collided Wednesday, so there was plenty of relief to mix in with how the game actually played out.
The Eagles scratched out single runs in the middle innings to draw even and then got to the Wildcats for four runs in the bottom of the 6th inning to pull away for a 6-2 victory.
Jacob McCleary drove in the winning run the hard way when he was plunked with the bases loaded, Zach Legendre added some insurance with a hot shot to first base for an RBI and senior Bailey Simoneaux capped a solid offensive night by punching a ground ball that handcuffed second baseman Armand Daigre for a two-run single.
“Summer ball is a real important time for us to develop our swings and get a feel for what it’s going to be like in the spring,” Simoneaux said after a 3-for-3, 3 RBI night. “I know as a senior that guys are going to be looking for me to come through with big hits next year, so I want to set that tone now.”
Walker got some tone-setting from one of its key returning veterans as well.
Chase Jeansonne logged the first 5 innings on the mound and was tough-as-nails. He scattered five hits and struck out 5.
For a couple of innings, Chase was lights out,” Wildcats’ assistant coach Mike Palermo said. “Then an error and a slow roller that we needed to make play on gave them a couple of runs. He commanded both sides of the plate well on a night when he didn’t have a great curve ball and that’s a good sign for us.”
Added Live Oak coach Greg Briggs, “He did a good job and he’s going to be tough for them next spring. He kept us off-balance and we couldn’t get anything going.”
Briggs mixed and matched pitchers, with four getting time.
The Wildcats got to starter Grant Ortego for a pair of two-out runs in the 2nd inning, both Live Oak-aided.
Ortego struck out the first two batters before Rush Azlin reached when sure-handed Eagles’ center fielder Landon Roberts got turned around on a fly ball and the ball clanged off his glove for an error.
Ortego walked Graham Smith to prolong the inning and with Daigre in the batter’s box, the two Cats aboard executed a double steal. Daigre blooped a single just over the left side of the infield to chase both runners home for a 2-0 lead.
That was all Walker managed, though. Lane Hutchinson logged two scoreless frames, working out of a bases-loaded jam in the 3rd. Sal Palermo was perfect in 2 innings with three strikeouts and a huge assist from shortstop Rhett Rosevear, who ranged left to gobble up a grounder and throw Brad Demoulin to end the 6th.
Legendre logged a scoreless 7th to slam the door.
Walker managed only three hits, none after Lane Thomas’ infield scratch single in the 3rd that loaded the bases.
“We didn’t hit the ball very well,” Palermo said. “We didn’t put enough pressure on them and didn’t do a good job with winners in scoring position. We hadn’t played in almost two weeks, so it’s kind of like the beginning of the school year when pitchers ahead of hitters and we didn’t adjust very well.”
Regardless of the score, that restart was a welcome sign for both teams.
“We’ve been battling the weather the last week and a half and these guys were ready to play,” Briggs said. “We’ve been working out in the mornings – a lot of lifting, running and agility work – so they were ready to get back on the field and it showed. Guys came out with a lot of energy, we got some different guys on the mound and put some guys in different positions.”
Both teams stay in-parish against Denham Springs High for their next action. The Wildcats will host the Yellow Jackets at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and the Eagles play at DSHS at 7:30 p.m. Monday.
LIVE OAK 6, WALKER 2
Walker 020 000 0 -- 2 3 1
Live Oak 001 104 x -- 6 8 2
Chase Jeansonne, Tristan Vaughn (6) and Dakota Smith; Grant Ortego, Lane Hutchinson (3) Sal Palermo (5), Zach Legendre (7) and Jacob McCleary. W – Palermo. L – Vaughn. Records: Walker 0-4, Live Oak 3-1. Up next: Denham Springs High at Walker, 7:30 p.m. Thursday; Live at DSHS, 7:30 p.m. Monday.
Randy Rosetta is Sports Editor of The Livingston Parish News.
You can reach him at (225) 610.5507 or RandyR@LivingstonParishNews.com.
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