A go-to message by coach Tim Beatty to his Doyle baseball players: Win the last game you play, it means you win a state championship.

The Tigers, seeded second in the Class 2A playoffs, put themselves in that very position by defeating No. 3 seed Welsh 5-2 in the May 8 semifinals at McMurry Park in Sulphur as part of the LHSAA state tournament.

Doyle ended it season with a 11-4 loss to No. 5 seed Kinder on Monday night in the state championship game. 

The Monday matchup was originally set for last Friday, but the threat of inclement weather forced LHSAA officials to adjust the weekend schedule.

The trip to the state championship game is the first for Doyle since 2001, when the Tigers competed in Class B.

Beatty's team lost in the semifinals in 2015.

"It's exciting for our school because it's the first time Doyle has been to the championship game in 2A," Beatty said.

Winning its last game Monday would have put Doyle (29-11) at 30 wins for the season.

The Tigers got through the semifinals thanks to a fast start by their offense and the complete-game efforts of starting pitcher Andrew Yuratich.

Yuratich had a big hit to score Tyson Stewart in the second inning after the Tigers had gone ahead 2-0 in the first. Mason Davis followed with a double to score Stewart that made it a 4-0 game.

"We barreled up a lot of balls," Beatty said of his offense, which had some struggles in earlier playoff matchups.

On the mound, Yuratich showed why he is Doyle's ace as he kept Welsh off the scoreboard in six of the seven innings.

His only trouble came when Parker Primeaux knocked a full-count fastball over the left-field wall for a two-run homer in the sixth.

By then, Welsh was already in a 5-0 hole.

Kinder advanced to Monday's final with a 9-1 win over Loreauville.

Former Walker star dies in car accident

The Walker High community was in mourning last week following the death of former star athlete Jacobi Scott in a May 8 car accident.

Scott and Southwestern College football teammate Shelvin Keller, an East St. John product, were on their way home from the Kansas community college for summer break when their vehicle was struck by an 18-wheeler near Marshall, Texas.

Scott and Keller were both pronounced dead at the scene.

Scott, a 2017 Walker High grad, was a quarterback for Southwestern majoring in computer sciences and digital arts.

"It's an empty feeling," said Walker coach Anthony Schiro, who coached Scott for four years in basketball. "It's so surreal. You really can't describe the feeling. There are no right words to say."

Schiro said Scott's younger brother, a rising sophomore in the Walker basketball program, was in communication with the coach in the short time after the accident providing updates. A text message confirmed Schiro's worst fears.

As a senior, Scott had a memorable season as the starting quarterback on the football team.

The Wildcats finished 7-3 with Scott behind center, snapped a 25-game district losing streak, and made the playoffs for the first time since 2001. Scott passed for 2,969 yards and 30 touchdowns.

Months later, Scott completed his senior basketball season by helping Walker to its second straight 20-win season and a second-round playoff berth. His leadership as the lone senior helped set the tone for a team that, one year later, would go on to win the first state basketball championship in school history.

Spring games set

All five of Livingston Parish's football schools were due to have wrapped up spring practice by week's end.

Denham Springs was scheduled to finish the spring with a trip to Plaquemine on Wednesday night for its spring game. Action was set to get underway at 6 p.m. Springfield was also set to play its spring game Wednesday with a 6 p.m. start against Kenner Discovery. That game was to be played at Springfield.

On Thursday, Walker High travels to face Woodlawn with action kicking off at 5:30 p.m. On Friday, Albany will welcome Brusly for a 6 p.m. start.

Live Oak was the first parish school to complete spring practice when the Eagles met East Ascension on Saturday in their annual spring matchup.

Morris out at Live Oak

Longtime Live Oak softball coach Michelle Morris has been relieved of her coaching duties at the school.

Morris coached the Eagles for 16 seasons, compiling a 382-114-9 record and leading them to the state tournament 14 times. A graduate of Live Oak, Morris advanced Live Oak to a state runner-up finish three times.

Live Oak went 12-16 this past year, falling to St. Amant in the first round of the playoffs.

Construction of a new baseball-softball complex at Live Oak began last fall.

Scott Hotard covers sports for The Livingston-Tangipahoa Advocate. He can be contacted at shotard44@gmail.com or livingston@theadvocate.com.