Livonia High baseball coach Jason Lemoine told his team not to waste a rare opportunity and the Wildcats obliged by taking a 7-2 victory over Kaplan on Saturday in a Louisiana High School Athletic Association Class 3A play-in game on Saturday at KHS.
“It was great to get back out on the baseball field to practice and then to play,” Lemoine said. “For a while, it didn’t look like it would happen. We spent so much time in court last week, and it was emotional.
“My biggest concern with all of that going on was that we might not be ready to play. They did a good job staying focused and we played well.”
Livonia was reinserted in the playoffs last Thursday after the parents of six senior players and the parent of a freshman ruled ineligible a week earlier after an LHSAA investigation won their bid to be part of the playoffs.
Because the 3A playoffs had already started, Livonia was sent to play No. 31 Kaplan for the play-in game. The Wildcats travel to Shreveport to take on No. 2 Evangel Christian at 4 p.m. Monday in regional action.
One of the six seniors played a starring role in the win over Kaplan. Jacob Gabor tossed a three-hitter with six strikeouts and only two walks. He also finished 3-for-4 with three RBIs.
Seniors Henry Frech (2-for-4, 1 RBI) and Ty Gurr (leadoff triple) were other leaders for Livonia.
District 5-5A and Ascension Parish rivals St. Amant and Dutchtown closed out the regular season by splitting two league games against each other. Now the fifth-seeded Gators (27-8) host the No. 13 Griffins (25-12) for a best-of-three games quarterfinal series in Class 5A.
Game one is set for 6 p.m. Friday. The second game is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday with the third, if necessary game, to follow at 4 p.m.
“You hate having to play a parish team like this, because you’d like to see both of us get a chance to advance,” SAHS coach Troy Templet said. “But it should be some great games and a great atmosphere.”
St. Amant defeated Archbishop Shaw 3-1 in the second game of its regional series to advance, while Dutchtown ousted No. 4 Denham Springs in three games.
Matt Delaune was 2-for-3 with an RBI single that scored Brennan Grant. Blaine Schexnayder scored on an error. Grant was 2-for-3, while Owen Richard had an RBI hit that scored courtesy runner Jacob Desoto.
Connor Millet (7-0) got the win and Tyler Dixon the save for the Gators.
Live Oak (28-8) advanced to the 5A baseball quarterfinals for the first time with a 6-5 win over East Ascension Saturday. The 10th-seeded Eagles won their regional series in two games and now travel to face No. 2 Brother Martin on Friday at UNO.
“Live Oak hasn’t been a 5A school all that long, and we talk to our kids about playing with a 5A mentality,” LOHS coach Greg Briggs said. “We’ve got a new school and new facilities, and we tell them we need to play to that level. That makes a win like this big.”
Lennie Kunert went 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs for the Eagles on Saturday. Gage Lockwood and Zach Hansen added two hits and an RBI each for Live Oak,
East Ascension (18-17) was led by Luke Lambert and Tristan Babin with two hits each. Babin doubled twice. Hunter Merritt (6-2) got the win for Live Oak.
Bears win two
Pitching was the key as ninth-seeded Catholic High (26-11) beat fifth-seeded Ruston twice on the road Saturday to win its best-of-three series over No. 5 Ruston (24-13). The Bears won the second game 3-0 and the third 6-3.
The wins put Catholic in a best-of-three quarterfinal series vs. top-seeded Barbe-Lake Charles starting on Friday.
Alex Massey allowed just three hits and struck out seven in the second game. Nick Coomes had two hits and two RBIs, in the game. The Bears used a suicide squeeze bunt by Hunter D’Armond to gain an early edge in the third game.