WATSON -- Kendall Theriot had no doubt Live Oak would shake out of its early funk against Walker on Tuesday. It just took a little longer than she expected.
After the Lady Cats scored three runs in the 1st inning, the Lady Eagles erupted for 11 runs in the 2nd and 3rd and marched to a 13-7 victory in the regular-season finale to clinch at least a share of their sixth consecutive District 4-5A title.
Live Oak entered Tuesday’s game tied with Central atop the district standings and won despite digging an early hole. After going down 3-0 in the 1st, the Lady Eagles exploded for 13 runs over the next 4 innings off of 10 hits and three Walker errors.
Once the Lady Eagles began making solid contact with the ball, it was pretty much smooth sailing toward another district crown, which they’ve won every year since 2012.
“We knew we have the sticks to bail us out,” Theriot. “That actually didn’t happen for us in the 1st inning, but we were confident with our bats because that’s what has brought us here.”
Live Oak (18-8, 7-1) will share the district title for the second straight season, this time with Central, which defeated Denham Springs High 11-4 on Tuesday. The Lady Eagles and Central finished with one district loss each, both coming to each other.
For Walker (8-18, 0-8), Tuesday may have signaled the end of what’s been a rough season. Ranked No. 35 in the latest LHSAA Class 5A unofficial power rankings, the Lady Cats concluded the regular season on a nine-game losing streak and will likely sit out the postseason for the first time since 2011.
But Walker never quit in this one. Even when the game seemed out of reach in the bottom of the 7th inning, Brooklyn Giovingo, Madison Monson and Abbey Andermann each collected RBIs to keep a faint sliver of hope alive. Live Oak’s Abigail Prescott retired the next two Lady Cats to leave Andermann on second and seal the win.
“We came back,” Walker infielder Shea Covington said. “We never gave up. We wanted our seniors to be proud in this last game.”
Walker’s seniors were definitely proud after a rousing 1st inning, when Covington scored on an infield error before Monson’s double to left field drove in two more runs to put the Lady Cats up by three.
Starter Gracie Jones breezed through Live Oak in the 1st inning and was one out away from finishing the 2nd when the Lady Eagles woke up from their slumber. The next six Live Oak hitters safely reached base, bringing home seven runs and putting the Lady Eagles in front 7-3.
Monson smacked another RBI double in top of the 3rd, but Live Oak answered back with four more runs in the bottom half of the frame, including one run from Brett Leiva’s fourth home run of the season.
The Lady Eagles were up 11-4 before Laney Chandler and Giselle Ash added to that lead by scoring in the 4th and 5th innings, respectively.
With the regular season now complete, 11th-ranked Live Oak will await the LHSAA’s release of its playoff pairings, which will be revealed Thursday. The Lady Eagles should host in the opening round, but there are still games to be played Wednesday that could alter some of the pairings.
LIVE OAK 13, WALKER 7
Walker 301 000 3 -- 7 12 5
Live Oak 074 110 x -- 13 11 1
Gracie Jones, Brooklyn Giovingo (2), Kaylee Hibbard (4) and Abbey Andermann; Lindsey Rizzo, Abigail Prescott (5) and Brett Leiva, Laney Chandler (6). W -- Rizzo (13-6). L -- Jones (1-6). 2B: Walker -- Giovingo 2, Madison Monson 2, Madison D’Amico; Live Oak -- BreAnna Corkern, Giselle Ash. HR: Live Oak -- Brett Leiva (4). Records: Walker 8-18, 0-8 District 4-5A; Live Oak 18-8, 7-1. Up next: Class 5A playoffs.