Lady Lions blank St. John in district opener

Kyle Riviere
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Ascension Christian’s Maddie Gautreau pitched a complete-game shutout against St. John. She gave up just three hits and struck out nine.

Ascension Christian went nearly three weeks without playing a game, but the Lady Lions showed little rust in Tuesday evening's district opener against St. John.

They were fueled by a terrific pitching performance by Maddie Gautreau from the circle, and Hallie Dupre supplied a two-run homer from the plate. It led to a 3-0 victory for Ascension Christian.

"If you look at our schedule, we decided to play mostly 5A teams," Lady Lion head coach George Gutierrez said. "We've played the best teams in the state. I think the break was good for us--especially for our pitching. We had some arms that were sore, so they were able to get healthy."

It had been 18 days since Ascension Christian had last played a game, but they looked great in the first inning against St. John.

In the top of the frame, Gautreau turned the Lady Eagles down in order. 

In the bottom of the inning, Layla Thompson walked, and then Dupre blasted a two-run homer over the right-field wall to give Ascension Christian a 2-0 advantage.

But from there, both teams really struggled from the plate.

The Lady Lions didn't get another hit until the bottom of the fourth. Noelle Laiche came up with a two-outs infield single, and Skye Fontenot joined her on base with a single of her own, but both players ended up getting stranded on base.

Ascension Christian finally added to its lead in the fifth inning.

Harper Dupre doubled, and Thompson came up with a bunt single. The throw to first was errant, allowing Dupre to score and stretch the advantage to 3-0.

The Lady Lions had a chance to really create some separation in the sixth. They loaded the bases with singles by Mattie Dixon and Michelle Juban and a walk by Fontenot. But all three players were stranded on base.

Though, with the way Gautreau was pitching, it didn't matter. She threw a complete-game shutout, surrendering just three hits and striking out nine.

"She did her job," Gutierrez said. "We talked a lot about the mental part of the game. That's what we'e been working on for the last few weeks, and that definitely showed today."

After a slow start offensively, the Lady Lions finished with seven hits.

Hallie Dupre was 1-2 with a walk, a home run and two RBIs. Both Thompson and Fontenot were 1-2 with a walk.

The win improved the Lady Lions to 7-6, but their record is deceptive. All six losses have come against teams in Class 3A and above.

"We tell the girls to play every pitch, play every inning, win every pitch, win every inning, and if you do that, you'll win the game," Gutierrez said. "We have some power hitters, so if everyone puts the ball in play, we're gonna make the other team make mistakes. We've got the pitching to go a long way. Hitting started off pretty good today, and then it fell off. We picked it back up toward the end. That's been going on all season. 

"We had a five-run lead over Hahnville in the first inning, and we just couldn't hold it. They're a good team. We've played Walker, Hahnville, Live Oak, John Curtis--all are top teams in the state. When we play a team on our caliber, you can see the difference."