ZACHARY — Baylie Doiron said she didn’t locate some pitches as well as she wanted to.
The fact that Doiron finished 2-for-3 with a double, a home run and three RBIs made up for any issues as second-seeded Zachary notched a 5-0 victory over No. 31 Natchitoches Central to open the Class 5A softball playoffs on Monday afternoon at Zachary Youth Park.
“I relied on my defense a lot today,” Doiron said. “They fielded the fly balls and ground balls.
When asked about the towering home run she hit in the bottom of the fourth inning, Doiron, a Spring Hill College signee, shyly smiled and said, “I thought I hit it pretty good.”
With the win, the Broncos (22-5) advance to play No. 15 Ruston, a 5-4 winner over Dutchtown, in the second round later this week.
Natchitoches Central finished 11-20.
“We didn’t take them lightly by any means,” ZHS coach Leslie Efferson-Yellott said. “They had four or five injuries during the year and were seeded lower than they should have been.
“The key for us was to come out focused and have fun. When we press we generally don’t play well.”
The Broncos shook off a 10-0 loss to District 4-5A rival Live Oak last week by taking the lead early.
Leadoff hitter Carsyn Martel drew a walk in the bottom of the first inning, stole second and scored on Doiron’s double to left field.
Courtesy runner Tegan Scott scored on a error, giving the Broncos all the runs they needed. Doiron struck out nine and gave up five hits. Martel, who finished 2-for-2 with two runs scored, and Doiron (2-for-3) were the only players with multiple hits.
“We got runners on,” Natchitoches Central coach Paige Grayson said. “We had two on in the sixth and hit a ball hard. If it goes a few inches either way, we score two runs. It didn’t happen, but we battled.”
Zachary scored one run in the third. Macie Pampel doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Hannah Dixon. Doiron’s two-run homer in the fourth completed the scoring.
With one out in the sixth, NCHS’ Ashlynn Blake reached on an infield hit and Hannah Pardee singled. A walk loaded the bases. But Pampel, the ZHS shortsop, snared a line drive off the bat of Kaylee Story and turned a double play to end the threat.
Doiron retired the Chiefs in order in the seventh to close out the game.