DENHAM SPRINGS -- Nearly 30 minutes after the game ended, Denham Springs High catcher Karlie Galloway was still beaming.
“This game was so exciting: I’m still getting chills from it,” Galloway said.
It’s easy to understand why.
Allison Irby’s two-run double in the bottom of the 4th inning wrapped up the Lady Jackets’ most dominating performance of the season: A 16-1 rout over parish rival Walker Tuesday night at North Park.
Fresh off a 2-1 showing in the St. Amant Invitational last weekend, Denham (8-7, 1-1 District 4-5A) scored a season-high 16 runs, its most since last March 26, to hand the Lady Cats their worst loss in the Livingston Parish series in at least the past five seasons.
The Lady Jackets chased three Walker pitchers before Mary Hughes came to the circle with two outs in the 4th, but she couldn’t hold them back, either.
With DSHS up 13-1, outfielder Sarah Cambre added to the lead and put runners on the corners with an RBI single down the right-field line. Irby then blasted a standup double off the center-field wall to drive in two more runs and complete the 15-run rout of the Lady Cats (6-5, 0-1).
Watching and chanting from the dugout, Irby’s teammates felt certain she’d end the game.
“We knew we had that game,” DSHS infielder Bailey Hughes said. “We were in the dugout calling where (Irby) was going to hit it. We had confidence in her. We knew she had it.”
Irby wasn’t the only Lady Jacket who had it on this afternoon. Denham went 12-for-22 at the plate against Walker’s plethora of pitchers: Starter Brooklyn Giovingo and relievers Kassy Guidry, Kaylee Hibbard and Hughes. Ten of those hits came with runners in scoring position (10-for-15), while 11 of their 16 runs came with two outs.
Lady Jackets’ center fielder Rayne Minor fell a home run short of the cycle but went a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate with a triple, a double and a pair of singles. She also drove in 4runs and scored 3.
But Minor’s bat wasn’t the only one doing work against Walker. Bailey Hughes, Galloway, Cambre and Irby all finished with 2 hits as the Lady Jackets were finally able to crank out hits with runners on base, something they struggled with in the early part of the season.
“Before, we’d get runners on, then we’d either pop it up or strike out,” Hughes said. “(Tuesday), we got those clutch plays, and then when they did make mistakes, we capitalized on them.”
There wasn’t much for Walker to capitalize on in its district opener. The Lady Cats finished with three scattered hits in 13 at-bats against Irby and advanced past second base just twice.
Walker stranded six on base and went hitless in five at-bats with runners in scoring position. Infielder Madison Monson, who scored her team’s lone run after doubling off the left field wall in the 3rd inning, called it an “unexpectedly rough game.”
“We just didn’t have that intensity (Tuesday),” Monson said. “My team didn’t come motivated. We didn’t have anything we were striving for as a team. The score is the result of that. They wanted it more than us, and they deserved that win.”
It won’t get easier anytime soon for the Lady Cats: They’ll host 8-1 Riverside Academy at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday before returning to district play on the road at Zachary on Thursday.
The Lady Jackets will be back in action Thursday, when they head to Live Oak for a district clash with the Lady Eagles at 5 p.m.
DSHS 16, Walker 1
Walker 001 0 -- 1 3 2
DSHS 136 6 -- 16 12 2
Brooklyn Giovingo, Kassy Guidry (3), Kaylee Hibbard (4), Mary Hughes (4) and Alayna Adams; Allison Irby and Karlie Galloway. W -- Irby (7-7). L -- Giovingo. 2B: Walker – Madison Monson, Madison D’Amico; DSHS – Bailey Hughes, Rayne Minor, Galloway, Irby. Records: Walker 6-5, 0-1 District 4-5A; DSHS 8-7, 1-1.Up next: Riverside Academy at Walker, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday; DSHS at Live Oak, 5 p.m. Thursday.