WALKER – Walker High entered Tuesday still having a chance of winning the District 4-5A championship.
But Walker now must concentrate on simply gaining a Class 5A playoff berth after dropping a 10-4 decision to visiting Central.
Zachary moved two games in the loss column ahead of the other teams in the district with its victory against Live Oak on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Walker needs one more victory to assure itself of being among the top 32 teams in the Class 5A power rankings.
“We didn’t play well enough for long enough to have a chance to win,” Walker coach Randy Sandifer said. “We were 29 in the power rankings coming in and we should still be around there. I’d like to have one more win. We have Denham Springs Thursday and Hammond Friday. We need one of those games.”
Walker (10-19, 5-4) found itself trailing Central from the start of the game. Central scored three runs in the top of the first against Cody King.
Sam Kenerson and Brant Chauvin opened the game with singles and moved into scoring position after executing a double steal.
Kenerson scored when Drew Lasseigne grounded out to second baseman Armand Daigre. Eddie Pezant drew a two-out walk and stole second. Connor Cassels followed with a two-run single which put Central (16-15, 5-4) on top 3-0.
King gave up two more runs in the third after Walker reduced its deficit to one run. Dalton Aspholm singled and Lasseigne was credited with a double when right fielder Graham Smith lost his fly ball in the dark.
Aspholm scored on King’s wild pitch and courtesy runner Gabe Baggett scored on Pezant’s single.
Three innings later, Walker was in a similar situation as it again pulled within one run at 5-4.
This time the Walker bullpen could not prevent Central from adding to its lead. Reliever Paul Howard gave up five runs in the sixth as Central built a comfortable advantage.
“We cut the lead back to 3-2 and gave up two runs,” Sandifer said. “Then, we get it to 5-4 and it looks like we are back in it. But we let it get away from us in that sixth inning. We could have given up one run, but not five.”
Central loaded the bases with no outs on two walks and a misplay on a bunt. Kenerson singled home the first run. A pop-fly single by Aspholm drove in two more runs. Lasseigne put Central ahead 10-4 with a two-run single.
Walker had a pair of two-run innings. In both innings, Walker had an opportunity to score more runs. In the second, back-to-back doubles by Seth Richardson and Daigre produced one run.
After Cameron Crow was hit by a pitch and Grant Edwards singled, Daigre scored on a wild pitch by Lasseigne. With the go-ahead runs in scoring position, Spencer Murray grounded out to Lasseigne and Camden Carver struck out.
In the fourth, Walker scored two runs without a hit. Three walks by Lasseigne loaded the bases. Relief pitcher DJ Primeaux walked Carver and hit Smith with a pitch to force home two runs. Parker Austin replaced Primeaux and retired Dakota Wilson on an infield pop up to end the inning.
“Parker Austin was big for us,” Central coach Mike Forbes said. “He came in with the bases loaded and got us out of the jam when Walker had the momentum. Then, we came right back and had that big inning. That inning took them out of it.”
Central finished with 13 hits – three by Pezant and two each by Kenerson, Aspholm and Lasseigne. Aspholm and Lasseigne combined to drive in five runs. Austin gave up three hits while throwing 3.1 scoreless innings in relief to pick up the victory. Walker had seven hits – two by Richardson.