OPEN SEASON: Lady Spartans hold off Dutchtown to open district
GEISMAR - East Ascension scored three runs in both the fourth and sixth innings and held off a late Dutchtown rally to open District 6-5A play with a 6-3 victory Tuesday afternoon at Lady Griffin Park.
“It is huge because we are opening district and you always want to start off big,” East Ascension head coach Amy Pitre said. “It is always good to come out and capture a win away. I know coming into this district every game is going to be a fight. There are no easy games. To win the first one, gives you a lot of confidence.
“It took us a time through our lineup before we really adjusted. It was a different pitcher than we are used to seeing. We haven’t been putting much runs on the board coming into this game. I think we gained confidence after one time around and once we got our timing down, we were OK and started hitting the ball hard.”
Chelsea LeBlanc picked up the win in the circle for East Ascension (9-6, 1-0) allowing three runs on seven hits and five walks while striking out 10.
“I know my pitchers real well and I knew Chelsea was going to pull through,” Pitre said. “She is tough. She didn’t have her best performance today and had some early issues with the strike zone but she worked through it and we got the win.”
Alexi Reynolds took the loss for Dutchtown allowing six runs on six hits and three walks while striking out four.
“Both pitchers were good,” Dutchtown (8-6, 0-1) head coach Nancy Ensminger said. “I give compliments to both. We made a mistake and they capitalized on our error to score a few runs. We have to make plays that should have been made and maybe we would have came out on top.”
“I am not going to compare it to last year. This year, it is a different team. We are replacing four starting infielders. We have no seniors and have a young team. We made a few mistakes that we shouldn’t have that could have changed the outcome of the game. We just have to make the plays that we need to make. We are going to regroup and come back strong.”
Both teams threatened in the first inning.
East Ascension’s Rachel LeCoq singled to left with two outs in the bottom of the first inning before Tiffany Robinson and Jade St. Pierre drew consecutive walks to load the bases but Reynolds struckout LeBlanc to get out of the inning.
Dutchtown’s Averi Parnell drew a one-out walk in the bottom half and advanced to third on a pass ball after MacKenzie Kohler’s sacrifice bunt before Jade Bourgeois drew a walk but LeBlanc struckout Hannah Bergeron to get out of the inning.
The next nine batters were retired in order.
Parnell drew a two-out walk in the bottom of the third inning after first baseman LeCoq caught Justine Tureau’s pop up in foul territory while colliding with catcher Robinson. Kohler reached on an error but LeBlanc struckout out Bourgeois looking to end the inning.
Reynolds hit Robinson to open the fourth inning and St. Pierre’s sacrifice bunt advanced pinch running Whitnee Marchand. One out later, Olivia Maher’s fly to shallow left was dropped when shortstop Amanda Vicknair and left fielder Kohler collided allowing the first run to cross. Shelby Young drew a walk before Brandi Cedotal lined a double to the left gap to plate two more runs giving East Ascension a 3-0 lead.
Dutchtown answered in the bottom half when Hayden Wood drew a two-out walk before center fielder Young dropped Faydra Hall’s liner allowing a run to cross and cutting it to 3-1. Tureau lined to left before Vicknair grounded out to the Cedotal at third to end the inning.
Bourgeois lined a two-out double to the right gap in the bottom of the fifth inning but Bergeron lined out to Young.
East Ascension added three runs in the sixth inning when LeBlanc reached on a throwing error from Vicknair. Maher lined to right advancing pinch runner Jordan Guidry to third before Young lined through the left infield wall to plate two runs. Babin followed an out later with a double to center to plate another run giving East Ascension a 6-1 lead.
“The bottom of my lineup came through for us today,” Pitre said. “It is a team win. Games we have won, our pitching hasn’t given up many runs. I knew she (Chelsea) wasn’t on her best of days so it was a total team win. Our defense had to step it up. They are not used to making many plays behind our pitching and I give that credit to Dutchtown. Everybody in my lineup in some kind of way contributed and that is what I am happy about.”
LeBlanc walked Vicknair to open the bottom of the seventh inning before Parnell hammered a home run over the center field fence to cut it to 6-3. Kohler dropped in front of right before Bourgeois lined through the right infield. After a double steal, LeBlanc struckout Bergeron and forced Reynolds to line out to center and Wood to pop up to right to end the game.
“I thought about maybe taking her out in the last inning,” Pitre said. “We had a three run lead with one out and I knew she would get through it. We were getting to the bottom of the lineup and she didn’t have a problem with them before. If I was facing the top of the lineup all over again maybe it would have been a different decision.”
Young was 1 for 2 with two RBI and two runs, while Cedotal was 1 for 3 with two RBI and Maher was 1 for 3 with one RBI and two runs.
Parnell was 1 for 2 with two RBI and one run, while Bourgeois was 2 for 3.