Lester hits HR, throws shutout
Westlake’s Myka Lester sends a pitch over the fence for a homerun in the 2nd inning against Patterson at Westlake High School in Westlake, Louisiana on Tuesday, April 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Lake Charles American Press, Kirk Meche)
WESTLAKE — Myka Lester held Patterson’s offense in check and led the Rams at the plate in Westlake’s 8-0 Class 3A bi-district round playoff win on Tuesday.
The No. 13 Rams (18-7) advanced to play at defending state champion North Vermilion in the regional round.
Lester held the Lumber Jills (11-16) without a hit, though Patterson generated a lot of traffic with seven walks and an error. The first inning was the only one Patterson did not get a runner on base.
Lester got the big outs when she needed them, starting with a popup on a bunt attempt she caught and turned into an inning-ending double play in the second. Patterson stranded six runners over the next four innings, going 0-for-8 with a runner on base.
Five of Lester’s 11 strikeouts came with a runner on base.
“I think nerves got to her a little bit at the beginning, but she did a great job battling back in time, especially when they had runners on,” said Rams head coach Lindsay Lagner. “She battled back a few times to shut them down.”
Lester put the Rams on the board with a long solo home run to right field in the second inning. She added a triple in the fifth and an RBI single in the sixth. Savannah Robertson reached base three times and drove in a pair of runs with a sixth-inning double. Kayla Kennedy added two hits, drove in a run and scored once. Every Rams batter reached base at least once as Westlake piled up 11 hits. The Rams scored three runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth to put the game away.
“We struggled a bit at the beginning of the game, left way too many runners on base,” Lagner said. “Towards the end we started capitalizing on mistakes and pushing runs across.”
The Rams found success going the other way to right field early in the game, including Lester’s homer.
“We had gotten reports that they liked to pitch away, so our approach was to go with it,” Lagner said. “(Patterson pitcher Tapanga Haven) got us a few times on the inside, but late in the game we were able to make adjustments and get to the inside pitches.”
Langer said she hopes her team’s run to the state tournament last year will give them confidence in the next round. No. 4 North Vermilion (26-5) advanced with a 16-1 win over Church Point.
“Having the year we had last year, some of the girls know what it takes to get there and are prepared and ready to put in the work,” Lagner said. “It definitely helps having upperclassmen know what its like. Hopefully that will rub off on the younger ones and we go hard in practice the next couple of days.”
Westlake 8, Patterson 0