Lady Griffins pull away from East Ascension for win

Kyle Riviere @kyleR_sports
Dutchtown players wait for Aleah Craighton at the plate to celebrate her fifth-inning home run against East Ascension. Photo by Dewey Keller.

Dutchtown didn't dwell in their 7-3 loss to St. Amant for very long.

The Lady Griffins quickly shook off the defeat in the district-opener to battle back from an early 1-0 deficit to overpower parish rival East Ascension on the road Thursday evening.

"It was a great game by my girls. I think they played cohesively, and the chemistry was there the whole game; it was awesome," Dutchtown head coach Nancy Ensminger said. "It was just a great team effort all around."

The Lady Griffins came into the district clash with East Ascension fresh off of a 7-3 thumping to St. Amant. The loss had ended an eight-game winning streak for Dutchtown. Things didn't get any easier as they were forced to tangle with a Lady Spartan team that was riding an eight-game winning streak of their own.

East Ascension quickly showed why they hadn't lost since the start of the month.

Freshman pitcher Jessie Watts came out smoking as she struck out two of the first three batters she faced and forced the Lady Griffins to go three up and three down.

The first inning was not a good one for Dutchtown pitcher Aleah Craighton either.

LSU signee Bailey Landry quickly got on base with a lead-off bunt, and she made her way home on a sacrifice bunt from Brooke Delaune. It gave East Ascension an early 1-0 lead that lasted until the fourth inning.

It was there that Dutchtown finally got the bats going against Watts--who had only given up one hit to that point.

After Hope Vezinat got on base on a Claire Weinberger error, Craighton nailed a double against the wall in right-center. Jessica Crum was then intentionally walked to load the bases with no outs.

Taylor Heck--who was a courtesy runner for Vezinat--came in to tie the score on a hit to the outfield. Ali McCoy then gave Dutchtown the lead when she brought a runner in on a slow blooper.

The Lady Griffins kept things going as Royelle Cobb put an RBI-single into shallow rightfield and then, Tia Patterson hit a deep infield single that brought in a run to give Dutchtown a 4-1 lead.

With the advantage, Craighton took over for the Lady Griffins.

On the mound, she struck out two to end the fourth and to start the fifth, she crushed a homer over the cernterfield wall to give Dutchtown a 5-1 lead.

In the sixth, Hannah Schexnailder led off with a single down the leftfield line. It led to another Lady Griffin run as Vezinat put a sacrifice fly into the outfield.

East Ascension made things interesting in the seventh when Landry belted a single into centerfield. The Lady Spartans had two runners on with two outs.

Weinberger hit a blooper into center that looked like a sure hit and RBI, but Akela Gordon came up with a beautiful grab that ended the scoring treat and clinched the 6-1 win for Dutchtown.

Craighton was huge for the Lady Griffins with her bat and her arm. From the mound, she pitched a complete game--only giving up one run and striking out eight. From the batter's box, she went 2-3 with a homer.

Schexnailder also went 2-3 while McCoy went 2-4.

Weinberger led the Lady Spartans with a 3-4 effort while Landry went 2-4 and scored East Ascension's only run.

"It's real huge—especially coming off of a tough loss to St. Amant and coming here today at their place and winning," Ensminger said. "That's a good team over there. They have a lot of talent, and they're well-coached, so it's huge for us."

Dutchtown and East Ascension both traveled to Sulphur over the weekend for tournament action. East Ascension won all three games. The Lady Griffins beat top-ranked West Monroe 5-2 and crushed defending state champion Sam Houston 14-4 but tripped up 5-4 to DeRidder.

The Lady Griffins will host McKinley on thursday while East Ascension hosts Woodlawn.