WALKER — After dropping the first game of a best-of-three Class 5A regional series Walker had about 16 hours to consider its options.
When the Wildcats woke up Saturday, needing two wins against West Ouachita, they dug down deep to keep their dream alive of reaching the state tournament.
“The expectations we have are to get to Sulphur,” Walker pitcher/first baseman Caleb Webb said. “We’re really doing whatever we can to get there.”
Webb delivered a all-around performance that helped No. 6 Walker defeat No. West Ouachita 6-1 and 9-6 to advance to next week’s state quarterfinals.
The Wildcats (24-8) will host their first best-of-three quarterfinal series against No. 19 New Iberia, which swept No. 30 Ouachita Parish in two games.
“Trying to preach to play one pitch at a time like everybody else does,” Walker baseball coach Randy Sandifer said. “Don’t get too caught up and panic if they score. It’s going to be a long day.”
Webb (8-1) fired six scoreless innings in Saturday’s first game, allowing three hits with four strikeouts and one walk.
“As the year’s progressed he’s gotten better and better on the mound,” Sandifer said. “He has an attitude about him. It’s not necessarily that he’s the best pitcher around, but he pitches very well. He’s not afraid to challenge hitters.”
Despite a hitting slump for several weeks of the regular season Webb was 2 for 2 with a bases-clearing double to deep center field during a four-run fifth inning that stretched Walker’s lead to 5-0.
West Ouachita (21-13) took a 2-0 lead in the second inning of the second game when Walker responded with four runs in the bottom half to take the lead for good, but not without some anxious moments.
The Wildcats, who finished with 12 hits, took control with four runs in both the third and fourth innings for an 8-2 cushion for winning pitcher Owen Forbes (6-1).
Landon Kish’s run-scoring single tied the game at 2-2 and a throwing error on the same play enabled Camden Carver to score. Webb made it 4-2 when he poked a single over a drawned-in infield.
Mason Morgan (3-4, two RBIs) chopped a two-run single to left and Brock Darbonne added a two-run single.
Webb, who went 5 for 5 with five RBIs on the day, increased his team’s lead to 9-5 with a solo homer to left field in the fifth.
West Ouachita (21-14), taking advantage of three walks by Walker relievers, brought the tying run to the plate in the sixth when Chance Reed got a strikeout to end the inning. The Chiefs, who added a run in the seventh on a wild pitch, brought the go-ahead run to the plate, but Carver came on for a strikeout of Ryan Stevenson looking at a curveball.
“We were just focused,” Webb said. “We wanted it so bad, it’s on a whole new level when we’re that focused.”