WALKER — Cheyenne Rogers could have gotten rattled after Walker High’s Taylor Fuchs smashed a three-run home run to left-center field in the bottom of the third inning.
Instead the Parkway High senior pitcher did more than get even.
First, Rogers smacked a go-ahead two-RBI double in the top of the fourth. Then, she held Walker to just one hit over the final four innings, leading Parkway to a 10-3 victory over Walker in a Class 5A softball playoff game Friday at WHS.
“She (Rogers) really worked on her movement pitches over the summer and has had a phenomenal season for us,” Parkway coach Neil May said. “She doesn’t get rattled. The three-run homer — that’s happened before. She knows how to get her emotions in check. And she kept fighting.”
With the win, Parkway (21-8) advances to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s State Softball Tournament for the first time since 2006 with its 10th straight win. Walker finishes 21-9.
Rogers finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Alexis Rayborn was 2-for-4 with a solo home run and scored three runs as the Panthers added four runs in the sixth to put the game out of reach.
Haydn Parker was 2-for-5 for the winners, who collected nine hits. Demi Henderson was 2-for-3 for Walker. Katelynn McKenzie finished 1-for-2 with a run scored.
Rogers retired 13 of the final 15 batters she faced after Fuchs’ home run, allowing just one hit, an infield single by Hailey Sullivan.
“They’re a very good ballclub. I’m not going to take anything away from them,” Walker coach Daniel Desselle said of Parkway. “They hit the ball well. The pitcher moves the ball well.
“We didn’t play up to our ability today in any of the three phases of the game. We’ve shown this year that we can pitch better, we can play defense better. And we hit the ball well; we just hit it right at them. But I couldn’t be more proud of what these girls accomplished this year.”
Parker got Parkway started with an RBI single in the top of the first that scored Carol Cash.
Rayborn extended the lead to 2-0 with a solo home run to left in the top of the third.
Henderson led off the bottom of the third for Walker with a single to center. McKenzie reached on a infield single before Fuchs launched her home run, giving the Wildcats a 3-2 lead.
Mary Kate Bozeman’s one-out single started Parkway’s fourth-inning rally. Cash walked before Rogers doubled to left off Walker’s Kassy Ard to give the Panthers the lead for good at 4-3.
Parkway parlayed three walks, a hit batsman and two errors into four more runs in the top of the sixth. Two runs scored on one of the two WHS errors. Parkway then added two more runs in the seventh.
“When we started the season we had two goals,” Parkway coach Neil May said. “The first thing we wanted to do was win district. We accomplished that. The second goal is the same goal every high school team in Louisiana has and that’s to make it to Sulphur. We’re just thankful.”