In the bottom of the fourth, the St. Amant bats woke up, and when they did, they were loud and emphatic.
St. Amant and East Ascension played a game as even as you could imagine through the first three and a half innings of Wednesday evening's game.
The contest was scoreless, and each team had just one hit apiece.
But in the bottom of the fourth, the St. Amant bats woke up, and when they did, they were loud and emphatic.
The Lady Gators exploded for 11 hits and 11 runs in that frame alone. It quickly turned a scoreless pitcher's duel into an 11-0 blowout that St. Amant won in just five innings.
“I don’t find we had good at-bats. Our focus wasn’t there," Lady Gator head coach Amy Pitre said. "We were swinging at a lot of bad pitches, and that’s not typical of us. I feel like we settled down in that fourth inning. Hits are contagious. It took Julia Kramer to knock one out, and we strung together a bunch of consecutive hits, and they were hard hits. We were swinging at strikes, and that’s our plan. We weren’t doing that in the first three innings.”
Although both teams combined for just two hits through the first three and a half innings, the game began with a triple.
East Ascension leadoff hitter Jada Goodlow belted an Alyssa Romano pitch to the wall at right-center and slid in safely to third. However, she ended the inning stranded there.
The Lady Spartans had another opportunity to score in the second as both Alayna Joseph and Indya Torres walked, but Romano escaped the inning unscathed with two big strikeouts.
With the game scoreless in the bottom of the fourth, Julia Kramer got things started for the Lady Gators with a leadoff solo home run.
Next, Sophie Smith singled, and she was brought home with a two-run homer by Kailey Dufour.
Nayalie Rodriguez came up with an infield single, and Kelsi Martine reached base on a Lady Spartan throwing error. A Lady Gator run scored on that miscue.
Next, Payton Granier and Addie Bourgeois both singled to load the bases. All three players came around to score on back-to-back singles by Romano and Rylee Rossi.
In Kramer's second at-bat of the inning, she singled.
Later, Rossi scored on a wild pitch.
Afterward, Dufour was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Rodriguez then drove home two runs with an infield single.
St. Amant's final score came courtesy of Martine, who produced an RBI single.
With the 11-0 lead, Romano sat the Lady Spartans down in order in the top of the fifth to close out the game by way of the mercy rule.
After throwing a no-hitter in St. Amant's previous win over East Ascension two weeks prior, Romano allowed just one hit against them this time around. She also struck out seven.
“She gives us a chance to win every single game we play," Pitre said. "They came out and got a leadoff triple, and they didn’t score. The next inning, they had runners at second and third with one out, and they didn’t score. She was at the meat of their lineup, and she made some pretty big pitches. I think she cranked it up there. I don’t know what her velocity was, but in a couple of those innings, she buckled down and made some big pitches.
"That’s just her competing. She doesn’t like to lose, and she doesn’t like people to hit off of her, and that’s a good combination to have in the circle.”
From the plate, Martine and Rodriguez were both 2-3 with one RBI and two RBIs, respectively. Kramer was 2-3 with a home run, and Dufour was 1-2 with a homer and two RBIs.
The Lady Gators have not lost a game since March 15. The win over East Ascension improved their record to 23-2-1.
“I don’t care where we’re at, as long as we’re playing our best ball at the end," Pitre said. "I told this team from the beginning that we’re not playing for March; we’re playing for April. We were fortunate to make some mistakes and still be on the winning side in some games. Right now, I feel like we cleaned up a lot of those early mistakes.”