DENHAM SPRINGS — Little did Denham Springs’ Kaitlyn Thompson realize the importance of her two-run, bloop single that resulted in a five-run lead.
A half inning, three runs and five errors later, Thompson figured it out pretty quick.
Thompson’s hit — one of six for her team — provided enough cushion for No. 5 Denham Springs to shake free of scrappy No. 28 Archbishop Chapelle 6-3 in a Class 5A state bidistrict playoff game Monday at North Park.
“It’s important not to let the foot off the pedal when we get ahead,” Thompson said. “We can’t relax on the easy plays. We have to keep pushing to get as many runs as we can because you never know what can happen.”
Denham Springs (22-8) committed five of its six errors during a nightmarish sixth inning in which Chapelle (10-12) narrowed the gap to 5-3 without the benefit of a hit.
Denham Springs will meet the winner of Tuesday’s Pineville-Haughton game later this week in regional play.
Two fielding errors, combined with a walk, loaded the bases when right fielder Bailea Fucich ran down a long drive from Natalie Fester for a sacrifice fly.
What appeared to be the second out of the inning turned into the Yellow Jackets’ third miscue on a dropped pop-up near foul territory, signaling the departure of starting pitcher Hollie Morrison.
Consecutive errors off the bat of Robyn Ledet forced in the third run of the inning before Irby got a called third strike and groundout to get out of the inning.
“This was our first time on dirt since the (regular) season ended,” Denham Springs coach David Bourque said. “The good thing is we kept the ball in front of us. We have to clean up a few things and get off our heels.”
Morrison (15-4) didn’t allow a hit during her 5.1 innings of work and struck out 11. She experienced control problems with three walks and two hit batsman that loaded the bases in the third.
Chapelle broke up the combined no-hitter when Hailey Pursell singled into left field on a 1-0 pitch but Irby got Karie Stamich to ground out to end the game.
“I told the girls in the middle of the game we had to work as a team to fight back,” Chapelle coach Stacey Conley said. “When you fight back good things will happen.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better effort from them as a team.”
Losing pitcher Samantha Mracich kept DSHS’ offense off balance, showing good velocity and a sharp drop pitch that resulted in 10 strikeouts.
The Jackets scored unearned runs in the first and third inning, sandwiched around freshman Karleigh Galloway’s lead-off homer in the third until Thompson made it 5-0.
DSHS added a run with two out in the sixth when ninth-place hitter Sarah Cambre beat out an infield single to score courtesy runner Kameryn King.
“We were trying to get those clutch hits,” Thompson said. “Today we seemed to get the clutch hits when the runners were in scoring position.”