SPORTS

Lady Gators roll by Grace King

Peter Silas Pasqua
St. Amant’s Melanie Parker scores on a throwing error in the fourth inning of the Lady Gators’ 11-0 Class 5A bi-district playoff victory over Grace King Tuesday afternoon.

ST. AMANT - St. Amant scored multiple runs it the first two innings and got out of a second inning jam to shutout Grace King 11-0 in a Class 5A bi-district playoff five-inning mercy rule victory Tuesday afternoon at Lady Gator Park.

“In the playoffs, regardless of seedings or records, everybody starts 0-0,” St. Amant head coach Scott Nielson said. “It is a totally even playing field. We respect everybody that is going to be in the dugout across the field from us."

“We have to focus and play hard every pitch and we did that today. We got timely pitching and timely hitting. This time of year it matters how many hits you get when you need them. That is what we did. The kids competed well and we live to play another day.”

No. 2 seed St. Amant (28-4) moves on to play traditional and District 6-5A rival, 15th seeded East Ascension (18-12), 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.  The Lady Gators swept East Ascension, 8-2, and 2-1, during the regular season.

“We are going to be playing a very competitive team,” Nielson said. “Nobody needs any scouting reports. We are not going to take them lightly. At this point both teams are 1-0 in the playoffs so it really doesn’t matter what happened the first two times. Throw out the records. It is East Ascension and St. Amant in the playoffs. What more could you ask for.”

Grace King, who met the Lady Gators in the semifinals three seasons ago, ends the season with a record of 11-8.

“St. Amant is great,” Grace King head coach Liz Candilora said. “We had some jitters but they are a well-oiled machine.”

Aime Parent got the win in the circle surrendering no runs on three hits and no walks while striking out seven over five innings. Parent struckout three straight Lady Irish batters in the second inning after Grace King put two runners in scoring position.

“Aime did a good job pitching in clutch situations,” Nielson said. “She didn’t throw lights out the entire game but she did a good job especially when we needed it. Obviously, if the other team doesn’t put the ball in play, that makes playing defense a whole lot easier.”

Ashley Freeman took the loss giving up 11 runs on 10 hits and one walk while striking out two in four innings.

Freeman dropped a blooper to centerfield with one out in the first before Parent struckout Kelsey Carter to end the inning.

Kelly Luquette stole second after reaching on an error to open the bottom hal, Emily Douglas’ grounded off the second baseman and Bridget Buquoi drew a walk to load the bases. Melanie Parker’s liner to left plated two runs and Kandace Boudreaux’s sacrifice crossed another.

Freeman struckout Parent, who reached on catcher Rachel Trice’s drop, allowing another run to score putting St. Amant ahead 4-0. Brooke Capello lined through the center of the infield but was left stranded.

Destah Furra reached second on a throwing error to open the second inning before Daniele Chevalier beat out a grounder and stole second but Parent struckout the next three batters she faced.

Luquette lined to left to open the bottom half and Buquoi lined through the center of the infield one out later to plate a run. Parker lined a double to the left corner to cross another before Boudreaux reached on a dropped pop up. Parent’s sac bunt plated a run and Capello lined to right to put St. Amant ahead 8-0.

Gabrielle Templet doubled to the right gap to open the bottom of the third and scored on Luquette’s sacrifice fly one out later.

Parker dropped a one-out blooper to center in the fourth inning before Boudreaux lined through the center of the infield and stole second. Parent reached on a bunt to load the bases and a throwing error on Templet’s grounder to third allowed two runs to score.

Parent struckout the first two batters in the fifth and Freeman lined out to left fielder Amanda Martin to end the game.

St. Amant’s Briget Buquoi scores on Kandace Boudreaux’s sacrifice fly ahead of the throw to Grace King’s Rachel Trice in the first ininng Tuesday afternoon.