Live Oak softball team out to close strong _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- Live Oak's Amanda Holliday is the starting pitcher for the play off game against Sam Houston Friday in Watson. Live Oak won 10-9.

A finishing kick in the final two weeks of the regular season is what the Live Oak High softball team is looking for.

The Eagles (20-2, 7-0) need to win two of their final three games to clinch the District 4-5A title. Building momentum for the playoffs and a run at the state championship is the ultimate goal.

The first leg of the final run was Wednesday when Zachary visited Live Oak. The Eagles host second-place Denham Springs (19-7, 6-2) at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Live Oak Sports Compex. LOHS then plays Zachary on Tuesday.

“We’re just as concerned about yesterday’s game, today’s game or tomorrow’s game,” Live Oak coach Michelle Morris said. “We do try and downplay the district title because the goal is to go for the state title, not just district. It would be icing on the cake, but it’s still up in the air.”

Denham Springs and Live Oak have made a regular habit of long playoff runs during the last 10 seasons. The Yellow Jackets lost last season’s title game to Ouachita Parish.

While in Class 4A, Live Oak also lost consecutive title games in 2007 and 2008. Last season, the Eagles were eliminated by Ouachita Parish in the semifinals.

“It’s definitely a playoff atmosphere,” Denham Springs coach David Bourque said. “Live Oak is always a top five team, and we want to be as consistent as them. Whenever we play them, its always a good ballgame, and it prepares us for the playoffs.”

Katelyn McLin’s three-run home run helped Live Oak rally for a 7-5 win at Denham Springs on March 24. Denham Springs got a two-run single from Bailey Fucich and a two-run double by Jaden Accardo.

Live Oak senior Amanda Holliday went the distance in the first game, and will start in the circle. The Eagles also look to first baseman Virginia Cacioppo and shortstop Lauren Brown for leadership.

“Any time you play in this tough district each game is very important,” Morris said. “Each game is one that will go down to the wire. We want to play our game, and just focus on us.”

Brittney Case is hitting over .600 to pace DSHS. Other key players are seniors Harli Crow, Kaitlyn Thompson and Macy Monk.

Baseball

A number of districts have adopted weekly home-and-home rotations. St. Michael travels to Plaquemine for a 6-4A rematch. It’s the same story for U-High at Brusly in 7-3A and Redemptorist at Episcopal in 6-2A on Thursday.

District 6-1A does not play the home-and-home game, which makes Southern Lab (11-0, 1-0) at Christian Life (10-8, 1-0) at 4:30 p.m. intriguing. Southern Lab will start junior right-hander Nathaniel Wicker, and is led at the plate by Courtland Williams and Jonah Granger.

“We understand the challenge we face,” SLHS coach Leroy Thompson said. “Christian Life has been the class of the district the last couple of years. We know we have to eliminate errors, and take advantage of mistakes that arise during the game.”

Christian Life’s top hitters have been Michael Stinson, David Alford and Jacob Williams. Also a pitcher, Stinson will get the starting nod against Lab.

“We’re definitely conscious of (wearing a bull’s-eye), but Southern Lab has got a very good team this year,” CLA coach Jonathan Causey said.

“They beat us three years ago, and I know they want to get back to that.”