Holden in Class B and Live Oak in 5A each advanced to the final day of the Fast Pitch 56 state softball tournament in Sulphur before falling short of a state title bid.
Second-seeded Holden made it all the way to the state championship game in Class B, thanks to victories over Converse in the quarterfinals and Oak Hill in the semifinals. The Lady Rockets then ran into top-seeded Florien, which scored a 7-0 win to claim its fourth straight Class B title.
In the 5A bracket, fifth-seeded Live Oak reached the semifinals for the second time in three seasons with a thrilling 3-2 win over Pineville in the quarterfinals.
Top-seeded Alexandria Senior High then beat Live Oak 7-0 in the semifinals before taking out Zachary by the same score in the 5A title game.
“To make it through the playoffs, we had been in several one-run games and some extra-inning games to help prepare us,” Holden coach Dennis Knight said.
Knight called it a breakout season for the Lady Rockets, who advanced to the state tournament in softball for the first time since 2011 and only the third time overall.
Holden relied heavily on a group of four eighth-grade starters that included ace pitcher Olivia Lackie, who followed a 1-0, extra-inning gem against Glenmora in the second round with two more dominant efforts in the state tournament.
Lackie struck out 18 in an 8-inning, 1-0 shutout of Converse, then struck out 17 more in a 6-1 win against Oak Hill.
Emma Hutchinson, another eighth-grader, had a three-run homer against Oak Hill in the third inning that gave Holden the lead for good.
In the state championship game, the young Lady Rockets fell in an early hole when veteran-laden Florien struck for four runs in the first inning.
“They were as good as advertised,” Knight said of Florien. “It’s no disgrace to lose to somebody like that.”
Holden finished with a 31-4 record that included a 6-0 mark in district play.
Live Oak took a different route to its semifinal run by relying on a veteran nucleus that included four seniors who have signed to play college softball.
Along the way, the Eagles (25-7) claimed a share of the District 4-5A championship along with Zachary.
Giselle Ash provided a three-run homer in the fourth against Pineville that helped Live Oak overcome an early deficit in the quarterfinals.
Back-to-back homers by Alexandria’s Carrie Boswell and Caroline Manzer in the fifth inning, combined with Boswell’s brilliance in the circle, kept Live Oak from advancing to the 5A title game.
Doyle in 2A and Maurepas in Class C both lost on the first day of the state tournament.
Several head to state track
A number of athletes from Livingston schools will compete for state hardware Thursday through Saturday at the LHSAA state outdoor track and field meet at LSU’s Bernie Moore Track Stadium.
Holden has six athletes who qualified for the Class B meet on Thursday: Kaylee Hughes in the girls javelin, Amanda Fekete in the girls long jump, K.K. Kropog in the 1,600-meter run, Jessica Litolff in the girls 400-meter dash, Asia Sierra in the girls 3,200, and John Sharp in the boys javelin and boys discus.
Also, the Holden girls are entered in the 1,600-meter relay.
Hunter Dupuy (boys high jump, boys 110 hurdles), Cade Duplessis (boys high jump, boys javelin) and Kameron Aime (boys pole vault) will represent Maurepas on Thursday in the Class C meet.
Dupuy and Duplessis also are part of the 400-meter relay that will compete for Maurepas.
On Saturday in the 5A meet, Live Oak senior Ashley Davis will compete in the girls shot put and the girls discus, Abigail O’Donoghue, of Denham Springs, in the girls high jump, Walker’s Landon Harper in the boys 300 hurdles and D’Angelo Stewart, of Denham Springs, in the boys high jump.
O’Donoghue and Harper are seeded first in their respective events.
O’Donoghue won the high jump state title last year with a mark of 5 feet, 6 inches.
Davis, a recent Southeastern Louisiana University signee, is aiming to win her fourth straight state championship in the shot put after finishing third behind Baton Rouge High’s Loren James and Zachary’s Kristian Jackson in the regional meet. James and Jackson are seeded first and second, respectively, in the state meet.
In 3A, Nipun Wadhwa, of Albany, will compete Saturday in the boys pole vault.
Springfield has two athletes entered in the 2A meet Friday: Damariae Claiborne in the boys long jump and Sarah Simeon in the girls discus.
Denham, Walker baseball fall
Six teams from Livingston Parish qualified for the state baseball playoffs, but only two — Doyle and Maurepas — were able to advance past the first round.
Walker and Denham Springs in Class 5A were among the first-round losers.
No. 16 seed Walker fell to No. 17 seed Rummel 10-8 to finish the season with three straight losses. Denham, seeded 21st, lost to No. 12-seed Destrehan 1-0 in an extra-innings nail-biter.
No. 23 seed-Doyle pulled an upset in 2A by beating No. 10 seed Hannan in the first round, then lost to Menard 6-3 and 4-1 in a best-of-three second-round matchup.
In the 16-team Class C bracket, No. 7-seed Maurepas beat No. 10-seed Harrisonburg 8-0 to reach a quarterfinal matchup against No. 2-seed Downsville.
No. 24-seed Albany lost to No. 9-seed Lutcher 9-1 in 3A and Holden, seeded 13th, lost to No. 20-seed Episcopal of Acadiana 6-4 in Class B.
Crenshaw 1-1 at state tennis
Denham Springs senior Connor Crenshaw lost in the Round of 16 of the Division I state tennis tournament in Monroe last week after winning his first-round match.
Crenshaw defeated Trevor Ramagos, of Holy Cross, 2-1 in the first round, then lost to Brother Martin’s Benjamin Chanes 2-0.
Nick Watson, of Catholic High, won the Division I singles title by defeating Zachary’s Jot Sandhu in the finals.
Tennis camp for youths
The PARDS Pre-High School Tennis Development Program for Denham Springs seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders will be held from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday at the North Park tennis courts.
For more information, contact Bob McMurray at (225) 305-8400.