WATSON -- In each of the past two seasons, Live Oak has gone 2-0 against Denham Springs High.
The Lady Eagles are now halfway to another sweep of their Livingston Parish rivals.
Thanks to a much-improved performance in the field and patience at the plate, Live Oak came away with a satisfying 5-3 victory Thursday, its fifth straight win over the Lady Jackets.
After piling up the errors in an 11-9 loss to Parkview Baptist on Tuesday, the Lady Eagles (10-5, 1-0 District 4-5A) cleaned up their act in time for Denham. They committed seven errors against Parkview but dropped that to just two Thursday, with none after the 2nd inning.
Live Oak’s Giselle Ash and Kendall Theriot controlled the left side of the infield and had a hand in 13 of the game’s 21 outs. With memories of all those blunders two days before still fresh in their minds, the Lady Eagles were bent on avoiding those same pitfalls in their belated district opener.
“Those plays were routine plays that we should’ve made (against Parkview), but we made it up in the field (Thursday),” said Ash, who finished with six infield assists at third base. “The first thing we said to each other (Thursday) is we have to back (pitcher Lindsey Rizzo) up. That was a big deal, the way we came together on the field and backed up our pitcher.
“We felt like one on the field, and that definitely had an impact on the game.”
At first it appeared Live Oak was bound for another error-filled afternoon. Lexi McCoy dropped a fly ball in right field on the first at-bat of the game. After a single from DSHS outfielder Rayne Minor put runners on the corners, Karlie Galloway smacked a two-run double up the middle to put the Lady Jackets on top, 2-0.
Live Oak didn’t need long to respond to the early challenge as BreAnna Corkern and Laynie Jones each drove in a run to knot the game after the 1st inning.
Behind Rizzo, the Lady Eagles’ defense took over from there, not allowing a hit over the next 3 innings while not letting a DSHS runner advance past second base.
With the game still tied in the bottom of the 4th, DSHS pitcher Allison Irby spotted Live Oak a run when she walked one in with the bases loaded, one of her three free passes on the day.
Infielder Bailey Hughes bailed her pitcher out in the next inning and re-energized her team with a solo home run over the left-field fence, but the Lady Eagles responded with runs in the bottom of the 5th and 6th innings to secure the win.
Desperate for their first victory over Live Oak since 2014, the Lady Jackets (8-8, 1-2) may have cost themselves the game. They stranded 10 runners on base, including an alarming six over the last 3 innings, to make them quickly forget the joy of their 16-1 rout over Walker on Tuesday.
“Everyone was excited (for this game), but then when we started making errors, it kind of shut us down,” Minor said. “From there, it went uphill and downhill again. We’ve done that a couple of times, where we came back and tied and then lost the game. I think we were just freaking out. We wanted to win so bad, and we still do.”
DSHS and Live Oak will meet again on April 4 at North Park, but both have plenty of work before then, beginning at the Sulphur Tournament this weekend.
LIVE OAK 5, DSHS 3
DSHS 200 010 0 -- 3 8 3
Live Oak 200 111 x -- 6 11 2
Allison Irby and Karlie Galloway; Lindsey Rizzo and Kaitlyn Friedman. W – Rizzo (10-5). L – Irby (7-8). 2B: DSHS – Galloway, Natalie Parker. HR: DSHS – Bailey Hughes. Records: DSHS 8-8, 1-2 District 4-5A; Live Oak 10-5, 1-0. Up next: Sulphur Tournament – Live Oak vs. Barbe, 3:45 p.m. Friday; DSHS vs. Westlake, 5:45 p.m. Friday; Live Oak vs. West Monroe, 7:45 p.m. Friday.