St. Amant earns dominant second-round victory

Kyle Riviere
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
St. Amant’s Mary Beth Zeller scores during the Lady Gators’ 14-0 second-round victory over Alexandria.

The St. Amant Lady Gators made their second-round home playoff game against Alexandria look routine on Wednesday evening as they steamrolled to a five-inning victory.

The Lady Gators put the game away early as Addison Jackson hit a leadoff home run in the first inning and Julia Kramer hit a grand slam in the second to take an 8-0 lead. In the end, St. Amant earned a mercy-rule victory by the score of 14-0.

“We were the higher seed in this game, but we’re all 1-0 at this point. When the other team comes in, they know they have nothing to lose,” Lady Gator head coach Amy Pitre said. “Our goal was to set the tone early and not let off of the gas. We had the two home runs, and one was a grand slam, so that was pretty nice. AJ (Jackson) in the leadoff spot is so powerful. She set the tone, and I’ll take the solo shots, because usually when she comes back up, it’s in good positions.”

Jackson was the starting pitcher for St. Amant. She allowed an infield single to Alexandria’s leadoff hitter. That was the end of the Lady Trojans’ offensive output. They were no-hit for the rest of the game.

Meanwhile, Jackson led off for the Lady Gators in the bottom of the first and proceeded to crush a solo homer over the leftfield wall.

In the bottom of the second, St. Amant feasted on fielding and pitching miscues by Alexandria. Two Lady Gators scored on errors, and with the bases load, Alix Franklin walked, allowing another run to score.

That’s when Kramer stepped to the plate and drilled a grand slam over the wall at right-center to make it 8-0.

In the third, Mary Beth Zeller walked and Carmen Dixon singled. Zeller eventually scored on a passed ball, and Dixon was sent home on an RBI single by Jackson to make it 10-0.

The Lady Gators put up their final four runs in the bottom of the fourth.

The bases were loaded after both Kramer and Zeller were hit by pitches and Smith walked.

Dixon then came up and drove in two runs with a base hit. Samantha Landaiche had an RBI single of her own, and Aralee Beene produced a sac grounder to make it 14-0.

In the dominating victory, St. Amant was led by Jackson, who had a terrific two-way performance.

From the circle, she held Alexandria to just one hit and struck out nine batters in five innings of work. From the plate, she was 2-4 with a home run and two RBIs.

“She gave up an infield hit and one walk; that was it,” Pitre said. “She had nine strikeouts in just five innings and had the big home run, so that’s pretty impressive for a sophomore to produce like that from both sides. She’s on a mission. The kid works extremely hard. I’m very proud of her.”

Kramer was 1-2 with a walk, a home run and four RBIs, while Dixon was 2-3 with two RBIs.

After not having a chance to defend its Class 5A state championship in 2020 due to the pandemic, St. Amant is now back in the quarterfinals. This is the ninth time in the past three years (excluding 2020) that the Lady Gators have reached the third round of the playoffs.

“It feels good to be here again, especially after losing that big group of seniors from last year,” Pitre said. “We came back this season, and we haven’t missed a beat with a lot of new faces. That’s always a very good thing.”

The Lady Gators drew a home matchup against seventh-seeded Pineville for Saturday.