WALKER — Like his team, designated hitter Caleb Webb was the underdog. But the freshman stepped into the batter’s box and smashed a bases-loaded single off LSU signee Cade Doughty of Denham Springs.
The hit was more than just a milestone for a first-year varsity player; it was a game-winning hit in the bottom of the seventh inning that gave Walker a 4-3 victory in a District 4-5A game Saturday.
“I just thought of it as another at-bat,” Webb said. “I pretty much knew he was going to throw me a fastball. And I swung the bat.”
With the win, the Wildcats (9-16, 4-1) did more than just snap back from a Wednesday loss to Central — they now sit alone in first place in the unpredictable 4-5A race.
Cody King (2-2) came on in the fifth inning to help Walker get out of a jam and got the win. Doughty (1-1), a top shortstop and Yellow Jackets’ closer, took over on the mound in the sixth for DSHS (13-11, 3-2).
“(Walker coach Randy Sandifer) said there would be a lot of what-ifs for whoever lost this one,” Denham Springs coach Mark Carroll said. “We had way too many noncompetitive at-bats with runners in scoring position. In some ways, we made it easy for them. But (Walker) did the things they needed to do.”
Carroll said the fastball Webb locked in on caught just a little too much of the plate. By then, the table was already set for Walker to win.
Camden Carver, one of three Wildcats with two hits, singled to center to open the seventh. Graham Smith followed with a single to right and Dakota Wilson drew a walk to load the bases, setting the stage for Webb’s game-winner.
Sandifer said he was proud of how his younger players, including Carver, a sophomore third baseman, came through in a pressure situation.
“With Carver standing there on third, I said ‘Well look at this.’ We had two freshmen standing there on deck waiting to hit,” Sandifer said. “For Caleb to stay within himself there was big. We picked and chose where we played him before district. Since district has started, he has had a couple of big hits.”
The Yellow Jackets took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on David Frye’s RBI double. The Walker pushed across two runs in the third. Carver’s two-out single started the rally. Wilson and Webb followed with RBI hits.
Denham Springs tied it in the fifth. The Yellow Jackets had runners on first and third with one out when Reese Smith broke from third base to initiate a run down. He scored and Doughty later came in to score on a hit by Frye.
“We’re getting there … it wasn’t pretty,” Sandifer said. “But we did enough and we competed.”