COLLISON COURSE: EA advances past New Iberia with two-run fifth

Peter Silas Pasqua
East Ascension’s Evan Babin advances to second as New Iberia’s Megan Thomas covers in the sixth inning of the Lady?Spartans’ 2-0 Class 5A bi-district playoff victory Monday afternoon.

East Ascension took advantage of a New Iberia error to crack the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth inning on way to a 2-0 Class 5A bi-district playoff shutout victory Monday afternoon at Lady Spartan Park.

“After a couple of innings, we knew whoever made the first mistake would lose the game and we took advantage of it,” East Ascension head coach Amy Pitre said. “I knew it was going to be a close game. They are a good team and we knew we had to be  able to stop the bunt and the slap. We did a good job defensively and the key was not making mental mistakes and staying focused on every pitch.”

No. 15 seed East Ascension (18-12) moves on to play traditional and District 6-5A rival, second seeded St. Amant (28-4), in the regionals Friday at 4 p.m. at Lady Gator Park for the right to advance to the LHSAA Fastpitch Top 56 State Tournament in Sulphur May 1-2.  St. Amant swept the Lady Spartans, 8-2, and 2-1, during the regular season.

“I think it is a shame we have to play a team in our district,” Pitre said. “Nobody really wants to do that but we are ready for it and definitely after the last game, we want another chance at it.”

New Iberia ends the season with a record of 15-10-1.

“(The error) was ultimately the game but we didn’t score any runs either,” New Iberia head coach Mitizi Lalande said. “You can’t win a game with zero under your name. The bats didn’t come through. It came down to who made the first mistake. Their pitcher did an excellent job to keep us off balance and we weren’t able to get it done at the plate.”

“I knew it was going to be a good matchup. I know they are an extremely well-coached team. They have a lot tradition here and going to the playoffs is something that they are used to doing. They proved it today. It just came down to the first team to blink and who wanted it the most.”

Rachel LeCoq got the complete game shutout win in the circle allowing just two hits, while walking none and striking out 11.

“Rachel kept them under control at the plate and I don’t know if one ball left the infield,” Pitre said. “I have never seen her that focused. We went through each batter before the game step by step. She just executed and threw every pitch we called and trusted in it.”

Erin Stutes took the loss for New Iberia striking out four.

LeCoq kickstarted the Lady Spartans’ fifth inning with a leadoff single to left. Olivia Maher’s bunt was thrown into centerfield by catcher Tiffany Dugas allowing courtesy runner Jordyn Guidry to score. Jade St. Pierre reached on a bunt putting runners on the corners before Maher scored on Brandi Cedotal’s sacrifice line drive to right to give the Lady Spartans a 2-0 lead.

East Ascension threatened in the sixth inning when Evan Babin led off with a liner over third and advanced on Brooke Courville’s groundout. Tiffany Robinson drew a walk but second baseman Kaela Lopez snagged LeCoq’s liner to stop momentum.

LeCoq retired the Lady Jackets in order in the seventh inning forcing Lopez to pop up to catcher Robinson to end the game.

Brittany Stein reached on an error in the top of the first inning and stole second with one out before Whitney Devoureu’s infield single through the left infield put runners on the corners but LeCoq struckout Jennifer Trahan to get out of the jam.

Brittany Dugas singled with one out in the second but LeCoq struckout Kayla Iquess and Lanie Hoffpauir to end the inning.

LeCoq struckout the side in the fourth inning as Stutes retired the first 12 Lady Spartan batters she faced.

East Ascension’s Rachel LeCoq struckout out 11 scattering two hits Monday against New Iberia.