"We never know what's going to happen when we play each other."
After losing a tournament game 10-0 to undefeated Crowley, La. powerhouse Notre Dame High School (6-2A), the Ascension Catholic Lady Bulldogs (6-1A) (17-14, 4-0) finished strong at Berwick before facing the St. John Lady Eagles (6-1A) (14-9, 2-2) in the first round of the 2019 Division IV Playoffs on April 16.
The Division IV rivalry playoff game between the Lady Eagles and Lady Bulldogs took place in Donaldsonville, La. in front of a standing-room crowd. It was a rematch from a regular season match where Ascension Catholic won 4-2 at St. John in Plaquemine.
The Lady Eagle's junior Grayson Schnebelen (9-9) pitched for 9 Hits, 4 BB, 2 SO, and 9 R. AC's junior Hailee Rome was the winning pitcher with 7 hits, 3 BB, 1 SO, 4 R.
St. John attacked early. The Lady Eagles senior shortstop Alise Wille led off the game with a solo home run. That was followed up with a hit by senior Kaylee Sadden, a double by freshman Cassidy Cannella, and an error from an Alyssa Callegan hit, which scored two more runs.
The Lady Eagles went up 3-0, but gave up two runs in the bottom of the 1st inning. They would only score one more run in the game. By the end of the game the Lady Eagles' four defensive errors and two base running mistakes cost them, and they did not hit nearly as consistently as the Lady Bulldogs.
Yet, even in the top of the 7th, Coach Cynthia Prouty kept them poised and looking to bounce back.
"I never give up," Prouty said. "I've seen these kids come back, down five or six runs and come back and win. And we have home run power from one down to nine."
Lady Eagle Alise Wille finished the game 3 for 3 with one BB and 1 RBI. Junior Madison Young was 1 for 4 with an RBI, Sadden was 2 for 3, and Cassidy Cannella was 1 for 3. The bottom half of the lineup was hitless, although junior Elise Jackson had two walks with a run scored, and sophomore Dannie Durand had a sacrifice bunt. Notably, sophomore second baseman Anna Catherine Caballero had a strong defensive showing.
The Lady Bulldogs' sophomore Mackenzie Marroy batted 3-4 with two singles and a double, scoring twice. Senior Isabelle Abadie scored twice. She singled and reached on a BB. Junior Angelle Theriot and senior Ashlyn Falcon had a pair of runs, each. And Rome also scored. Sophomore Madison Tripode's third inning triple drove in a run.
"We never know what's going to happen when we play each other," Lady Bulldogs Coach Don Henry said. "Their lineup is full of hitters. He had to be able to play defense. We've been up and down. At one time we were 5-11, but we won 13 of our last 16 and I feel like we're peaking at the right time."
The Lady Eagles finished the season with a team batting average of .368 with four players hitting over .400: Alise Wille, Grayson Schnebelen, Kaylee Sadden, and Madison Young.
Sarah Grace LoBue had the best offensive year of her career and provided the team with much needed leadership, and pitching staff, Grayson Schnebelen, Alyssa Callegan, and 8th grader Kynleigh Rhymer gained experience, according to Prouty.
"I'm very proud of the fight that our kids have shown all year long," Prouty said. "They never backed down from a game. It didn't matter what the score was. They always fought back if we needed to."
The Lady Bulldogs' playoff run ended Saturday, April 20 in the quarterfinal at Catholic of Pointe Coupee 8-0.