WATSON – Dawson Albin probably shouldn’t have been on a baseball diamond again this quickly.
So when he stepped to the plate in the 7th inning Monday against Live Oak with a chance to make a major impact, it was almost like he and the Yellow Jackets were playing with house money.
Turned out to be a pretty productive situation for Denham.
After three relatively ho-hum at-bats prior to the 7th – the last two with a chance to drive in a run – Albin made his final one count when he pumped a single over the drawn-in Eagles’ infield to plate two runs and anchor a three-run inning that propelled DSHS to a 6-4 triumph.
Albin took a pitch off his right hand six days earlier against Central and was diagnosed with a broken bone above his pinkie, which required a cast and seemed like a potential season-ending injury.
Instead, the gritty senior was cleared by a doctor Monday, slipped his uniform back on and went back to work in a key District 4-5A game.
Fate kept putting Albin in prime spots and he finally came through when he beat Live Oak reliever Landon Roberts on a 2-and-1 pitch.
“This was the first time I’ve really swung a bat in about a week, so I was just trying to get something through the infield,” Albin said. “Landon and I have a history together. We’ve played together since we were little and he’s always thrown me straight curveballs. I just had to wait for the right one and when he hung one, I was able to get enough of it.”
Sam Hughes followed by dumping another RBI hit over third base off his fists and the three-run cushion held up even when the Eagles (20-11, 3-5 District 4-5A) nicked Cade Doughty for run in the bottom of the 7th inning on Cade Freneaux’s RBI single.
Doughty logged his 2nd win despite allowing Lane Hutchinson’s game-tying solo home run in the 6th inning. He was also a huge key on offense with two runs, an RBI hit and four stolen bases.
“We seized every opportunity and came up with big hits when we needed them,” Doughty said. “No matter what, our competiveness has been keeping us in games. They tied it up against us, but we didn’t give up and we didn’t settle.”
Before the late three-run burst, the Yellow Jackets (17-14, 4-4) and Eagles spent the first 6 innings chipping away a run at a time.
DSHS blended its running game (7 stolen bases) with clutch hitting to ease in front 2-0, a lead it took into the bottom of the 4th inning.
Doughty reached on a fielder’s choice in the 1st inning and with two outs he swiped second base and raced home on Hunter James’ base hit to center field.
In the 3rd, Nick Moreau slapped a one-out single, swiped second and came around on Doughty’s base hit.
The Jackets also produced a two-out run in the 6th frame when Hughes shanked an opposite-field double and sped to the plate when Tyler Evans scorched a ground ball to the right side that second baseman Gabe Schenk couldn’t knock down.
Live Oak managed to knot the score 2-2, pushing home single runs in each of the 4th and 5th innings, but it was minimal damage in two situations when the Eagles could’ve seized control.
Freneaux started the 4th with a single, Schenk walked and Sal Palermo reached when Moreau misplayed a ball at second base to load the bases with no outs vs. Jackets’ starter Jase McDonald.
Undaunted, McDonald struck out Roberts, got Hutchinson on a tricky 5-3 that chased in a run and got a huge assist when James made a slick stop on a sharp grounder to first base off Bailey Simoneaux’s bat for the third out.
An inning later, Live Oak’s Rhett Rosevear and Zach Legendre generated a run with a pair of singles to chase McDonald. Chandler Pope came on and got a huge second out when he fanned Freneaux. After Schenk drew a walk, Pope slammed the door when left fielder J.P. Preston made a nice running catch near the foul line. The Eagles finished 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
“They were able to get a couple of two-out hits in key spots and in our one shot with the bases loaded and one out, we only got one run,” Live Oak coach Greg Briggs said.
“That’s the kind of stuff that’s killing us right now. In our district, the teams are too good to not take advantage of those chances when you get them.”
Hutchinson seemed to light the Eagles’ fuse with one out in the 6th inning when he yanked a 2-and-2 pitch from Doughty over the left-field fence to re-forge a 3-3 deadlock.
But the DSHS flamethrower struck out Simoneaux and got Rosevear to tap out to Albin at third to end the 6th. Not unraveling after the homer was big for Doughty and the Jackets.
“It was 2-and-2 and he was sitting fastball,” Doughty said. “He put the barrel on it and did his job.”
Added Carroll, “The main thing we always talk about is to win the next pitch. That one is over and done and there isn’t anything you can do about it, so move on.”
Which was emblematic of a win that Denham badly needed to snap a season-long three-game losing streak. The Jackets climbed into a third-place tie with Walker with two games left.
“We’re playing a little bit better at the time of year when you want to be playing better,” Carroll said.
Both teams are right back in action Tuesday. Live Oak heads to No. 1-ranked Zachary (29-2, 8-0) for a 6 p.m. contest, while DSHS will host Scotlandville (10-19, 0-8) at 6 p.m.
DSHS 6, LIVE OAK 4
DSHS 101 001 3 -- 6 9 1
Live Oak 000 111 1 -- 4 8 3
Jase McDonald, Chandler Pope (5), Cade Doughty (6) and Brennan LeBlanc; Sal Palermo, Landon Roberts (7), Dylan McDonald (7) and Cade Freneaux. W – Doughty (2-0). L – Roberts (4-2). 2B: DSHS – Sam Hughes; Live Oak – Rhett Rosevear. HR: Live Oak – Lane Hutchinson (1). Records: DSHS 17-13, 4-4 District 4-4A; Live Oak 20-11, 3-5. Up next: Scotlandville at DSHS, 6 p.m. Tuesday; Live Oak at Zachary, 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Randy Rosetta is Sports Editor of The Livingston Parish News
& Managing Editor of 4-5ALockerRoom.com
You can reach him at (225) 999.0667 or Randy@LPN1989.com.
Follow on Twitter: @RandyRosetta | @LPN_Sports | @LPNews1898
Check out these Livingston Parish headlines from April 16, 2018!