Lady Gators cruise into state quarterfinals
After pulling off a come-from-behind win over Benton in round one, Dutchtown was thinking upset as it hosted parish and district foe St. Amant on Thursday evening.
But right from the start, the Lady Gators took control and showed why they’re the No. 2 seed in Class 5A.
St. Amant scored four runs in the first inning and added two more in the second to take a 6-0 lead. From there, the Lady Gators rolled to an emphatic 11-1 victory.
“We did what we were supposed to do--what I thought we were capable of doing,” St. Amant head coach Amy Pitre said. “This is a rivalry game, so you never know what can happen. They have good players, it’s a good program, they do a good job and we’re at their place, so I was extremely proud of the way we came out and took care of business.”
The Lady Gators quickly loaded the bases in the first inning following walks of Addison Jackson and Alix Franklin and a bunt single by Caterina Byars.
Mary Beth Zeller then drove a run home with a single, and a Carmen Dixon sac grounder scored another. Later, a Dutchtown throwing error on a Samantha Landaiche ground ball allowed two more Lady Gators to score.
“That’s always what you want. How the first inning goes, it sometimes sets the tone for the rest of the game,” Pitre said. “We took advantage of our opportunities there. We got the lead-off hitter on, we moved the runners and then drove them home. Good things happen when you put the ball in play.”
Dutchtown had a great opportunity to answer in the bottom of the first. The Lady Griffins loaded the bases following a lead-off single by Brynn Songy and walks by Lysia Russell and Harper Dupre. But Jackson escaped unscathed with two big strikeouts.
In the top of the second, Jackson led off with a home run. Byars followed it up with a single, and Dixon drove her home with a base hit to give St. Amant a 6-0 lead.
Dutchtown scored its first and only run in the bottom of the fourth. Ariel Hayes led off with a single, and Maddie Keller produced an RBI double.
Jackson responded with another home run in the fifth. In the sixth, Kami Gautreau came up with an RBI double to extend the St. Amant lead to 8-1.
And in the seventh, the Lady Gators put the exclamation point on the victory with a two-RBI double by Zeller and an RBI single by Landaiche.
From the plate, Jackson went 2-2 with two home runs and three walks. Two of those walks led to scores.
“We’ve gotten used to her being walked. Hey, when we have a chance to get a runner, we’re going to take that runner,” Pitre said. “If you want to walk her, we’ll take advantage of that. Either you pitch to her or you don’t pitch to her, good things can happen. The most important thing is that she gets on base.”
From the circle, Jackson surrendered just five hits, and she struck out nine. She now has a sensational 300 strikeouts for the season.
Dixon and Zeller each went 2-5. Zeller had three RBIs, and Dixon drove in two runs. Landaiche was 2-4 with an RBI and a walk.
Songy was the only Lady Griffin to chalk up multiple hits in the game. She was 2-4.
With the victory, St. Amant has now won 26 straight games. The Lady Gators are now headed to the state quarterfinals, where they’ll host 10th-seeded Hahnville.
The two teams played in the Lady Gators’ season opener. St. Amant won, 1-0, in 10 innings.