Learning curves exist for a reason and what a team gleans from some stumbles is just as important as what it takes from success.
For the Live Oak baseball team, hitting a few potholes late last week might not have exactly been what the Eagles wanted, but two narrow setbacks could be hugely beneficial down the road.
Playing at the Landmark Bank Tournament, Live Oak split four games, extending a winning streak to six games by beating Walker 6-1 and Fontainebleau 5-4 before dropping back-to-back one-run losses to Sam Houston (2-1 in 8 innings) and Zachary (5-4).
The Eagles got solid pitching in all four games and that bodes well with the district season on the horizon.
Senior Nick Cacioppo continued to be a source of optimism with another complete-game win, this one a 4-hitter over a Walker team that rolled past Zachary 7-0 earlier in the tournament.
In a District 4-5A warmup between the two parish rivals, Live Oak (8-5) generated three two-run innings and grabbed the lead right away against the Wildcats in the 1st when Preston Faulkner scored on an error and Garrett Barrilleaux chased in run with a base hit.
Gabe Schenk restarted the 6th inning with a two-out single and Cacioppo drove him home with a double and scored himself on Bailey Simoneax’s single. Barrilleaux smacked a two-run double in the 7th inning for two big insurance runs.
Meanwhile, Cacioppo was cruising. He retired 11 of the first 13 batters he faced and worked out of Walker’s only real threat when the game was close. Tristan Taylor led off the Wildcats’ 3rd inning with a double and moved up on a bunt.
But Cacioppo bowed up and struck Hunter Murray for the second out and ended the threat by getting Mason Inman to roll out to short.
Cacioppo recorded 7 Ks and walked only 2.
In the win vs. Fontainebleau, Barrilleaux was again a spark when he collected Live Oak’s first hit in the 4th to trigger a two-run inning that snapped a 1-1 tie.
Faulkner led off by getting hit by a pitch and Barrilleaux gave the Eagles two runners in scoring position with his hit. With one out, Cacioppo produced a two-run single.
After the Bulldogs crept within 3-2, Barrilleaux and Schenk punched back-to-back singles to start the Live Oak 6th, Cacioppo bunted both runners up and Sal Palermo came up with the big hit – a single to center that chased two more runs home.
Fontainebleau pushed home two runs in the 7th against starter Tristin Cosby with two outs before Simoneaux came on to get the last out for a save.
Jordy Adams tossed an 8-inning complete game in the loss to Sam Houston, with the teams combining for only 12 hits.
The final game of the tournament was another 4-5A preview. Barrilleaux and Rhett Rosevear supplied a pair of hits apiece and the Eagles grabbed an early 2-0 lead, but couldn’t hold on.
Live Oak is back in action at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Lafayette High before returning to the Hub City on Thursday for three games in the Atchafalaya Challenge.
Landmark Bank Tournament
LIVE OAK 6, WALKER 1
Live Oak 200 002 2 -- 6 8 0
Walker 000 010 0 -- 1 4 2
Nick Cacioppo and Preston Faulkner; Colin Johnson, Chase Jeansonne (7) and Hunter Murray. W -- Cacioppo. L -- Johnson. 2B: Live Oak -- Ryan Morris, Garrett Barrilleaux, Cacioppo; Walker -- Lane Thomas, Tristan Taylor. Records: Live Oak 7-3, Walker 7-4.
LIVE OAK 5, FONTAINEBLEAU 4
Fontainebleau 000 110 2 -- 4 7 3
Live Oak 001 202 x -- 5 4 1
Marshall Blake, Zachary Dorsey (6) and Casner Jablonski; Tristin Cosby, Bailey Simoneaux and Preston Faulkner. W – Cosby. L – Blake. Sv. – Simoneaux. 2B: Fontainebleau – Dillon Todd; Live Oak – Garrett Barrilleaux. Records: Live Oak 8-3, Fontainebleau 2-11.
SAM HOUSTON 2, LIVE OAK 1 (8)
Live Oak 000 000 10 -- 1 5 1
Sam Houston 010 000 01 -- 2 7 3
Jordy Adams and Preston Faulkner; Chris Haggard, Will Thompson (8) and Payden Reeves. W – Thompson. L – Adams. Records: Live Oak 8-4, Sam Houston 10-4.
ZACHARY 5, LIVE OAK 4
Live Oak 200 101 0 -- 4 7 1
Zachary 011 210 x -- 5 10 0
Brendon Baker, Bailey Simoneaux (4) and Preston Faulkner; Joey Blanchard, Anthony Fidanza (6), Rhett Hebert (6) and Alex Milazzo. W -- Blanchard. L – Baker. Sv. – Hebert. 2B: Live Oak – Nick Cacioppo; Zachary – Fidanza, Easton Adams. Records: Live Oak 8-5, Zachary 8-4. Up next: Live Oak at Lafayette, 4 p.m. Tuesday.