SHREVEPORT – Walker High School was a small-ball team with a big blast on Tuesday as the No. 8 Wildcats defeated No. 24 Captain Shreve, 10-2, to advance to the Class 5A softball quarterfinals.
After falling behind 2-0, in the first inning, Walker turned to a small-ball attack in the second inning with great success.
The LadyCats travel to face top-seeded Sam Houston at 2:30 p.m. Friday in the quarterfinal round.
“We’re a small-ball team, and when it’s working, we continue to use it,’’ Walker coach Hali Westmoreland Fletcher said.
It was working against Captain Shreve, with Walker scoring five times in the second inning without a ball leaving the infield.
Haleigh Pourciau walked to lead off, and Walker’s next three hitters reached base on bunt singles.
A pair of Captain Shreve errors compounded the effects of those bunt singles. Madelyn Bourgoyne’s bunt single and Shreve’s throwing error scored Pourciau for Walker’s first run. Bree Brown’s bunt single and another Shreve error allowed Savanah Stafford to score the tying run after she reached on a bunt single.
Bourgoyne and Brown scored on another Shreve error for a 4-2 Walker lead. Gyvan Hammons had an infield hit and went to second on a throwing error. She later scored on a wild pitch for a 5-2 lead.
Walker’s small-ball attack rattled Shreve starting pitcher Mikel-Ann Ricardo. She issued walks to Laynie Jones, Lainee Bailey and Ryann Schexnayder to load the bases for Pourciau later in the second inning.
Pourciau delivered the big blast with a grand slam over the left-center field fence.
“I was just looking to meet the ball,’’ Pourciau said. “I haven’t really been hitting well. I figured, ‘Just go up there and hit it.’ It felt good off the bat and was the pitch I wanted.’’
Said Westmoreland Fletcher, “Haleigh is a great hitter. She’s one of our leaders in RBI. I had no doubt when she was up to bat.’’
There was no doubt about the outcome after Pourciau’s grand slam. Walker had a 9-2 lead and the pitching of Bailey and Pourciau stifled Shreve’s offense, which had three base runners the remainder of the game.
Walker (23-9) scored its final run in third inning. Hammons reached on an infield single and went to third on Jones’ bunt single. Hammons scored when Alayna Daigrepont reached on a fielder’s choice.
Pourciau appeared to have given Walker an 11-2 lead when she drilled a pitch off a light pole beyond the left-center field fence. But shew knew something was wrong when she approached third base during her home run trot.
“I was walking around the bases and I got to Coach Hali over there,’’ Pourciau said. “She was just standing there, and I was like, ‘What happened?’ “She said I was out of the (batter’s) box and I kind of felt it. That’s how I adjust to their pitcher, move up in the box. It happens some time. You live and you learn.’’
“I think it was more frustrating,’’ Fletcher said. “To have a player with two homers in a game is very rare. But if she was out of the box, she was out of the box.’’
Pourciau’s big day continued with a double to left field in the sixth inning. She nearly had a fifth RBI, but Shreve was able to throw out a Walker runner at the plate to prevent the Wildcats from extending their 10-2 lead.
“This is an awesome experience,’’ Pourciau said. “Getting this far with the great teams we’ve played, I can’t wait. This is what we’ve been waiting for.’’
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