CENTRAL — What were the odds Walker could forge a three-way tie for first place in District 4-5A? If your answer was 2-1, you also have the correct final score.
Walker scored two third-inning runs and held on to beat Central High 2-1 in the pivotal baseball game Saturday. It was the second major 2-1 win for WHS in the past three days, following a 12-inning win over Zachary on Thursday.
“In the first inning, when the wind was blowing and balls were getting hit deep, I figured it might be a 12-11 ballgame,” Walker coach Randy Sandifer said. “But there weren’t a lot of balls that carried after that.
“It’s fortunate that we got a couple of hits and scored a couple of runs early. Then we were able to get the outs at the end when we needed them. Their pitcher threw well, and ours guys did also.”
With the win, Walker (15-9, 4-1) moves into a tie for first with Central (12-13, 4-1) and Live Oak (19-5, 4-1).
Trent Allen (4-1) picked up the win. Allen allowed six hits in 5.2 innings with three strikeouts and no walks. Sophomore reliever Noah Danburg struck out the one batter he faced in the sixth to get WHS out of a sixth-inning jam, then pitched in the seventh.
Bryce Tassin and Tyler Lockhart each finished 2-for-4 with a double. Lockhart and Aaron Soileau, who finished 1-for-3, had the RBIs for WHS.
Danburg walked two in the sevnth but struck out Central cleanup hitter Chris Chambliss to end the game. Chambliss was the hero in Central’s 5-2 nine-inning win over Zachary on Tuesday when he hit a three-run walkoff home run.
“For a while there I thought it might be déjà vu,” Central coach Mike Forbes said. “But he (Danburg) didn’t leave any balls up in the zone and made good pitches.
“For them (Walker) to be able to play two back-to-back games like that, to show that mental toughness is the most impressive thing. The big difference today was that we didn’t get the two-out hits like we have been, and that’s all to their credit.
“This (district race) is far from over. You got a group of teams that are all very good. I wouldn’t be surprised if the team that wins it is only a couple of games over .500 in district. It’s that tough.”
Left-hander Preston Fondren (3-4) threw a complete game for Central, striking out eight and allowing eight hits. Fondren allowed only one hit after the third inning. Brady Jones was 1-for-3 with an RBI-double for Central. Chambliss also had a double for CHS.
Tassin doubled and went to third on an infield hit by Lockhart in the first for Walker, but Fondren got a strikeout to end the threat. WHS repeated the scenario in the second with hits by Landon LeBlanc and Jacob Ard before Fondren got another strikeout to snuff out the threat.
With one out in the third, Tassin singled and went to third on a double down the left-field line by Lockhart. Both scored on Soileau’s single to center, giving Walker a 2-0 lead.
Allen, WHS’ right-handed starter, struck out four in the first two innings. Central got two runners on a couple of times. Allen ended one threat with a strikeout and erased the lead runner in a rundown in the fifth.
Chambliss led off the sixth with a double. Pinch runner Jansen Browning scored on Jones’ double to deep center. Sandifer brought on Danburg with two outs and he struck out the batter to end the bottom of the sixth.
The Walker reliever walked two batters before facing Chambliss with two outs and getting a strikeout to end the game.