Leesville worked its way out some jams to advance to the second round of the LHSAA playoffs.
Behind seven strong innings from Maddie Phillips, the Lady Cats defeated Lakeshore 2-1 Tuesday night at home.
"They stepped up when they needed to," Leesville head coach Betty Hicks said. "Our problem is that we haven't been hitting the ball real hard or consistently. A batter will hit, then the next one won't."
Phillips threw all seven innings, striking out seven and allowing just three hits to pick up the win.
"Honestly, my coach told me at the beginning of the week that I'm going to have to have all my stuff working the next couple of weeks," Phillips said. "We worked really hard yesterday to make sure my spins were right. When I warmed up, I felt really good. Everything just worked out."
The Leesville offense put plenty of balls into play, striking out just three times, although it only scored two runs.
"We have to keep hitting the ball, and they will fall in," Hicks said. "They'll eventually find a gap."
The Lady Cats got their first run in the bottom of the third inning on an RBI double by Zakayla to score Ariel Thomas, who reached on a bunt in the previous at bat.
Lakeshore threatened in the top of the fourth with a runner on third, but the Leesville defense recorded three straight ground balls to keep the Lady Titans at bay.
"All preseason, we worked on weightlifting and all of that, so I'm never really physically tired," Phillips said. "But, on the mental side, my coach, Joe Sowell, every Sunday brought me out here and made me throw 30 pitches then run a lap. If it was a ball, I'd run another lap."
Leesville scored its second and final run in the fifth inning as Kendall Collins scored on an RBI single to left center by Keyana Poteat to make it 2-0.
The lone run for Lakeshore came in to the top of the seventh, but Phillips retired three of the four batters to end the game.
Zakayla Collins went 2-for-3 to lead Leesville at the plate.
The Lady Cats go on the road in the second round to take on No. 2 North Desoto at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.
"It doesn't matter if we're traveling or at home," Hicks said. "We travel well. It's all about doing our job when we get there."
North DeSoto defeated Leesville last season in the second round en route to its Class 4A state championship.
"Last year, we lost to them 1-0, and I play ball with some of (the girls from North DeSoto), and they said that at the end of the tournament, we should have been the ones play them on Saturday," Phillips said. "We're hopefully going to come out on top this time."