It was a little too close for comfort.


It was a little too close for comfort.
But a win is a win, no matter how you look at it.
The No. 12 Leesville Lady Cats jumped out to a quick four-run lead and then held on for dear life to outlast the 21st-ranked St. Michael Lady Warriors in the opening round of the Class 4A playoffs on Monday, 4-3.
"We started off well, but we kind of went to sleep in the middle," Leesville head coach Kelly Goodwin said. "But we came out with the win and that's all that matters at this point."
Leesville (16-13) advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the third straight year with the win. However, the last two have ended with disappointing losses, something the Lady Cats are hoping to avoid when they travel to West Ouachita later this week for a game against the fifth-ranked Lady Chiefs, who struggled before pulling away for an 11-4 win over No. 28 Morgan City.
"We are going to have to focus on playing our game," Goodwin said about the matchup with West Ouachita. "We have to play our game and hit the ball. Plus, we can't go to sleep again and make errors."
Leesville was in solid form early on.
The Lady Cats got a leadoff single from McKenna Goodwin. Two pitches later, Emily Berry dropped down a successful sacrifice bunt, moving Goodwin easily to second.
Goodwin rounded second and headed to third, prompting a bad throw from first base, which allowed Goodwin to score for a 1-0 lead.
Karsen Kreps followed by reaching on an error and she scored when Chelsi Alexander ripped an RBI-double down the left field line, lifting the Lady Cats to a two-run edge.
The Lady Cats added to their lead in the bottom of the second.
Elaine Blanco opened with a leadoff single and eventually reached third after consecutive groundouts from Brittany Hillard and Ashley Hoecker.
Goodwin followed by smacking an RBI-double to left, scoring Blanco to make the score, 3-0. Goodwin later scored on a looping single off the bat of Berry, pushing Leesville out to a 4-0 margin.
But the Leesville bats soon went silent as St. Michael starter Katy Powell began to find her rhythm.
And soon, her Lady Warrior teammates began to put the bat to the ball.
St. Michael threatened for the first time in the top of the fourth.
With a runner at first and two outs, Amanda Berdon lofted a long fly ball to left centerfield, which clanged off the wall, just short of being a homerun.
Hoecker retrieved the ball and fired to Haley Magee, who in turn hurled to ball to Hillard at home, who was able to tag Erin Gilbert for the third out, preserving the shutout.
But in the fifth, St. Michael broke up the shutout bid.
Peyton Dugas knocked in a run on a sacrifice with the bases loaded and Michelle Poirrier followed with an RBI-single to score Sydney Copeland, cutting the deficit to 4-2.
Fortunately for the Lady Cats, they were able to pick up an out when Dugas, who was out second, was ruled to have been off the bag at the time of a Goodwin pitch, giving the Lady Warriors two outs.
On the ensuing play, Powell laced an RBI-single to left field, which could've tied the game at 4-4 had Dugas not committed the baserunning error.
Instead, the Lady Cats were able to get out of the frame holding a 4-3 lead.
The lead stood the rest of the way as the Lady Cats were able to pick up the win.
Goodwin gave up three runs on six hits with four strikeouts, a walk and a hit batter.
Goodwin was also 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI and two runs scored, while Blanco was also 2-for-3, but scored only once. Alexander and Berry each had a hit and an RBI in the win.
Powell gave up four runs on six hits with two strikeouts and two walks. Berdon was 2-for-3 with a double for the Lady Warriors, while Poirrier and Powell each had a hit and an RBI.