The softball postseason gets rolling Monday with four Livingston Parish teams looking for the first step toward a trip to Sulphur.
Denham Springs High heads north to take on Ruston at 4:30 p.m. in a rematch of a game the Yellow Jackets lost 3-2 earlier this season. DSHS (12-17) is seeking its first playoff win since 2015 when it topped Pineville 14-13 in the regional round after clipping Chappelle 6-3 in the first round.
For the four teams in Classes 3A and 2A playing games Monday and Tuesday, the focus isn’t so much on the opponent as it is taking care of business at home.
“You’re supposed to progress as a team and be as good as you can be this week,” Albany coach David Knight said. “That’s kind of what we feel like. We’re about as good as we can be right now. We’re as prepared as we can be for this week. We’re hoping for the best.”
“We’re excited we got the home game,” added Knight, whose Class 3A No. 6 Lady Hornets host No. 27 Marksville at 6 p.m. Monday.
In Class 2A, No. 3 Doyle hosts No. 30 Rayville at 4 p.m. Monday.
“I think if we play how we’re supposed to play, we hit the ball like we should and we have been, then we should be OK,” Doyle coach Amanda Decell said. “I think (the team) understands that we’ve lost to some really good teams. We’ve talked a lot about this being a whole new season for us – a fresh start.”
Also, No. 11 Springfield hosts No. 22 Port Allen at 6 p.m. Monday.
“I don’t know a whole lot about them,” Springfield coach Ashley Ledet said of the Pelicans.
“We expect them to hit the ball, capitalize on any errors that we make, throw strikes and things like that. For us, it’s about being patient at the plate, making sure we’re swinging at the good pitches and taking the bad pitches.”
No. 15 French Settlement hosts No. 18 Delhi Charter in a 2A bidistrict contest at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.
“The only person you have control over is you, so our main focus this past week has been worrying about what we can do to benefit our program,” FSHS coach Susan Covington said.
“I’m excited. I really do think this is the team that’s going to surprise some people, especially with a 9-19 record. But we’re not a 9-19 team. I stand by that preview article. I’m waiting for (the team) to shock the world and me to stand back in awe.”
No. 1 Holden and No. 4 Maurepas got first-round byes in Class B.
No. 27 Marksville at No. 6 Albany
The Lady Hornets (26-6) head into the postseason on an eight-game win streak and are 15-1 in their last 16 games with the only loss a 5-4 setback to Live Oak.
“We’ve put a lot of runs up,” Knight said. “We’ve shut people down. The biggest thing is our pitching’s come around. Our defense has come around. We were making a lot of errors. We’ve had decent offense all year, but now we’ve learned how to score runs. It’s not by accident. I think it’s all coming around at the right time.”
Knight said Marksville (10-17) will present a different challenge in the way it utilizes its bench.
“Their coach has got like 20 girls on the team,” Knight said. “He likes to sub in a bunch of them.
“If they’re changing players in the field, they’re not going to dictate what we’re going to do. We’re going to do what we do anyway no matter who’s in the field. If they’re changing the pitcher out or that catcher or something like that, that may change whether we decide to run on them or stay.”
No. 30 Rayville at No. 3 Doyle
The Lady Tigers (18-11) are on a four-game skid as the playoffs begin. Those losses came to quality programs False River, Hannan, Brusly and St. Joseph’s, but Decell is hoping that type of competition helps her team in the postseason.
“I feel we’ve seen the best of the best,” Decell said. “I feel like we’ve seen the best pitching that we can see, and that was my plan originally. I knew it was going to be hard, and I told them at the beginning of the year that we probably will not win as many games as we normally do, or we might lose more than we normally do. But my plan was for them to see anything they could possibly see in Sulphur or in the playoffs. I know going forward that there is nothing that will surprise them in the next few games.”
The Lady Tigers faced Rayville (9-8) in the first round of the playoffs last season, scoring a 14-4 win after the Lady Hornets jumped out to a 4-0 lead.
“They’re going to play with a lot of energy, and they’re going to be really excited to play,” Decell said. “Like I told the girls, we have to play with that amount or more energy. We have to bring our game.”
No. 22 Port Allen at No. 11 Springfield
Ledet expects Port Allen to capitalize on any errors the Lady Bulldogs (11-14) might commit, something Albany did well in a 10-0 win over Springfield last week. The Lady Bulldogs took time to work on those issues during practice following that game.
“That’s why get these couple practice days in, and that’s what you talk about,” she said. “That’s what you do, and that’s what you re-work. Really, a lot of times things like that come down to communication between the girls.
Ledet is also hoping here team can carry some momentum into Monday’s game having won two of its past three games.
“Toward the end of the season, we’ve really started to come together and play our best game,” she said.
No. 18 Delhi Charter at No. 15 French Settlement
The Lady Lions (9-19) have won three of their last four games heading into the playoffs, including a 6-4 win over Class 4A No. 5 Assumption
“We feel pretty confident going in,” FSHS coach Susan Covington said. “Having a win like that and playing well in the last week heading into the playoffs, that’s exactly where we want to be.”
FSHS has done it after switching a number of players around defensively with Sarah Petite going from left field to third base, Jackie Crosby to second base and Samantha Lewis to left field.
Like her parish coaching counterparts, the biggest problem for Covington is finding information on Delhi Charter (14-11) heading into Tuesday’s game.
“Looking at the people they’ve played … either they lost big or they won big,” she said. “They’ve only played a few schools with close scores, so I’m just kind of worried about that part – just not knowing.”
A plus for the Lady Lions is they are at home.
“It’s been a while since we’ve won a home playoff game,” she said. “Our goal is to win that first one and then see how it goes from there.”
DSHS at Ruston, 4:30 p.m.
Marksville at Albany, 6 p.m.
Rayville at Doyle, 4 p.m.
Port Allen at Springfield, 6 p.m.
Zachary at Sam Houston, 4:30 p.m.
Live Oak at Ponchatoula, 5 p.m.
Slidell at Central, 5 p.m.
Delhi Charter at French Settlement, 4:30 p.m.