DENHAM SPRINGS — Allison Irby, slotted sixth in Denham Springs’ batting order, got an up-close look at the challenge facing her team.
Holden’s eighth-grade pitching standout Olivia Lackie struck out eight of the first nine batters she faced during a scoreless duel with Irby through three innings.
“I knew I had to do my job,” Irby said. “I’m competing with her, trying to keep their runners off the bases so we can get a chance to do what we can on offense.”
Denham Springs managed to accomplish just that, scoring a run in the bottom of the fourth without the benefit of a hit and Irby made it stand up in a 1-0 victory over Holden at North Park.
“I’m just proud of my kids for getting it done,” Denham Springs coach Leslie Efferson Yellot said. “That’s a tough team.”
Denham Springs (11-9) got its first baserunner aboard when Lackie uncorked a wild pitch on a swinging third strike from Rayne Minor. Sarah Cambre then walked and both runners moved up on a one-out wild pitch.
Karlie Galloway sent a one-hopper back to Lackie, who after glancing at Minor, threw to first to retire Galloway and allowed Minor to score.
“I told our girl at third (Olivia Barnes) they were probably coming on a squeeze play,” Holden coach Dennis Knight, whose team was 6-0 in one-run games. “When she fielded it, she looked once and (Minor) went straight home. It was just one of those things.”
Lackie (12-1) finished with 12 strikeouts and lost her bid for a no-hitter with one out in the sixth on Paige Luquette’s bunt single.
Holden had two of its three hits against Irby in the first when Ashley Fogg and Emma Hutchinson registered one-out singles.
However, Lackie bounced back to Irby, who threw to first baseman Natalie Parker for the second out. The Jackets got out of the inning when Parker threw to Galloway to double up Fogg sliding at the plate.
Irby retired 19 of the final 20 batters she faced — allowing only Olivia Barnes’ lead-off bunt in the fourth. She didn’t allow a ball out of the infield during that stretch, throwing 48 of 71 pitches for strikes.
“I think that was one of my best games,” said Irby, who struck out six. “I was focused and wanted to do this for my team and make them proud.”