WESTLAKE - While the piers are relaxing for spring break, the eight-ranked Westlake Lady Rams were in the batting cage early Friday morning long before their Class 3A regional playoff game against St. James.
Eight hours later, the extra work had paid off as the Lady Rams finished off No. 9 St. James 10-0 in five innings to advance the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA state softball tournament for the first time since 2010.
“Since this morning when they came up to the school I was expecting they would be a little mad bringing them up here so early but they came ready to go,” Westlake head coach Lindsey Langner said. “The first thing they said was ‘We are ready coach; can we play now’.
“I think that having that right mind set really helped them. I think everyone is happy and the fans are happy. We have a great support system. They are all excited.”
Westlake (21-6) will play No. 1 Brusly (29-4) at 5 p.m. on Friday in the quarterfinals at North Frasch Park in Sulphur.
Westlake played its first error free game in more than two weeks and got a dominating performance in the circle from sophomore ace Myka Lester (19-5).
“That has been our main focus,” Langner said. “There are a lot of consequences for that, which I think we will carry over into the next round.
“We have been telling them that the deeper you go the cleaner it has got to get. They did a good job defensively today.”
Lester came within two outs of her third no-hitter of the season and finished with five strikeouts and one walk. St. James came into the game averaging 11.4 runs per game but was shut out for just the second time this season.
“She has been fighting through a lot and I think that she is finally getting back in her groove,” Langner said. “She had a couple of situations, but she dug out of that and did a great job of hitting her spots today.”
After Lester retired the side in the top of the first inning, Westlake scored five runs on just two hits and got some help from two St. James errors, plus a passed ball and wild pitch.
Westlake tacked on four more runs in the second inning including a two-run single to left field by Lester and Audrey Fisher’s second RBI single of the game.
Westlake 10, St. James 0
St. James 000 00—0-1-4
Westlake 541 0X—10-8-0
PITCHING: W — Myka Lester (19-5). L — Kiri Parker (20-5).
TOP HITTERS: St. James — Abigail Lassere 1-2 (double). Westlake — Reagan Richard 2-3 (2 runs), Myka Lester 1-2 (3 RBIs), Baleigh Glover 2-2 (2 runs), Audrey Fisher 2-2 (2 RBIs), Jena Johnson 1-3 (2 runs, RBI).
RECORDS: St. James — 21-5. Westlake — 21-6.