It’s a winner-take-all scenario for Walker and Zachary. In this case “all” refers to the District 4-5A baseball title.
But now they’ll have to wait a day. Heavy rain on Wednesday and Thursday’s forecast for more rain have pushed the game set for Thursday back to Friday at 6 p.m. at Zachary Youth Park.
Meanwhile, another notable game, Parkview Baptist (13-13, 6-3) at Brusly (30-3, 8-1) has been pushed up to 4 p.m. Thursday. Brusly can claim the outright District 6-3A title with a win.
“This doesn’t happen too often,” Zachary coach Jesse Cassard said. “Usually the district title is decided before you get to the last game of district. Last year we played Denham Springs the last game of season with a chance to tie for the title. I think that’s probably a little more common.
“The fact that’s been a few years since we’ve won one is a factor. That was a goal. But I think it’s important to play a good, clean game before the playoffs. You want to be playing well.”
Walker (19-10, 8-1) is coming off a 5-3 loss to Denham Springs on Tuesday. WHS coach Randy Sandifer said he hopes that loss works to his team’s advantage.
“Up to this point there’s been so much put into winning them all,” Sandifer said. “Now hopefully we can concentrate on just playing the best game we can to win.”
Walker has not won a district title since 2005. Zachary (20-11, 8-1) last won a district title in 2013.
Walker has not won a district title since 2005. Zachary’s last title was in 2013.
Cassard will start either Joey Blanchard (3-1, 0.92 ERA) or Anthony Fidanza (4-1, 2.10), while Sandifer plans to counter with Lane Thomas (4-2).
The averages for the top hitters are comparable. Sandifer mentions ZHS second baseman P.J. Cannon, noting that “It seems like he comes up every inning.”
However, shortstop Jacob Payne (.346), Fidanza (.344) and Blanchard (.342) are the top hitters. First baseman Hunter David has a team-high 16 RBIs despite missing 12 games with injuries. Designated hitter Rhett Hebert has 12 RBIs and also is the Broncos’ closer with 13 saves and a 0.78 ERA.
“This team is more like the ones Zachary had in the past,” Sandifer said. “They’re athletic from one through nine and like to bunt and use their speed. We’ve got to play solid defensively and trade an out for 90 feet when they get guys on. You want to strand them at third.”
Third baseman Jacob Ard leads Walker with a .350 average. Shortstop Griffin Walley and center fielder Chance Dixon are both hitting .340.
“Timely hitting … that’s been huge for Walker so we’ve got to limit those chances,” Cassard said.