DENHAM SPRINGS -- Denham Springs High used a monster 5th inning to run rule Zachary 11-1 in a  District 4-5A opener Thursday night.

Denham’s 11 runs came on 12 hits, with only three runners left on base in the 6-inning game.

“They played with confidence,” DSHS coach Leslie Efferson-Yellott said.

“They played with complete confidence.”

Natalie Parker handcuffed the Lady Broncos, allowing one earned run on four hits while walking one and striking out 9. She faced the minimum after 3 innings and struck out six of nine batters faced. Parker also 2-for-3 with an RBI, scored two runs, one in the six-run 5th inning and the game-ending run an inning later.

“She had a different mentality for this game,” Efferson-Yellott said. “She was where she needed to be all night, for every single pitch. When she saw her teammates playing well behind her, it just elevated her game.”

The win moved the Yellow Jackets to 7-1 this season and extended their win streak to six games. It’s a far cry from Efferson-Yellott’s first season in which they finished 11-21.

“It’s exciting,” Efferson-Yellott said. “(The team) has a lot of fight. They play expecting to win instead of hoping to win, and that makes a big difference right there. I’m just happy with where they are, and I’m proud of my kids. My coaching staff is amazing, and we have an amazing staff that works incredibly well with the kids. And our kids are buying into the program. They’re buying into what we’re teaching them about teamwork and selflessness. It’s kind of surreal to sit back and see where we are.”

Denham jumped ahead 2-0 in the 1st inning following a leadoff single and two steals by Rayne Minor and a walk by Paige Luquette. On Luquette’s walk, Zachary catcher Abrianne Parker threw the ball down to first, pegging Luquette in the back. The ball was ruled live, and Minor scored easily from third base. Luquette moved to second on the error and stole third.

Parker's sacrifice fly scored Luquette for the second run of the inning.

“It’s awesome,” Parker said of going to the circle with an early lead. “When we go out and hit and like that, we’re just so much more confident. I just feel so much more confident knowing everybody is confident in themselves.”

It took a moment for Parker to grasp her night after the game concluded.

“I was confident all over,” Parker said. “I was confident coming into this game. I came in and warmed up good, and I was in a good mood and that just carried into the game.”

The Lady Broncos didn’t record their first hit off Parker until the 4th inning on a Carysn Martel’s leadoff infield single. She stole second and scored after a series of groundouts.

Denham responded in the bottom of the 4th on catcher Karlie Galloway's two-run home run, which scored Kaitlyn Friedman following her single.

The floodgates opened in the 5th as Denham scored six runs on seven hits, batting around in the process.

Minor led off the inning with an infield single and scored the last run of the inning when she reached on a failed fielder’s choice. Minor was one of four Denham players to score two runs, and all but one batter recorded a hit.

The game ended early in the 6th inning following Parker’s leadoff single and steal of second. Colin Macias reached on an error, Zachary’s fourth of the night. Friedman ended the game by grounding into a 6-4-3 double play, scoring Parker in the process.

DSHS 11, ZACHARY 1 (6)

Zachary     000 100  --    1    4  4

DSHS         200 261  --  11  12  0

Ashley Lopez and Abrianne Parker; Natalie Parker and Karlie Galloway. W –Parker. L – Lopez. HR: DSHS – Galloway. Records: Zachary 7-6, 0-1 District 4-5A; DSHS 7-1, 1-0. Up next: St. Amant Invitational – DSHS at St. Amant, 5:30 p.m. Friday; vs. Sam Houston, 7:30 p.m. Friday; Zachary vs. Destrehan, 7:30 p.m. Friday.