SOFTBALL

Now the fun begins

Kyle Riviere @kyleR_sports
East Ascension's Bailey Landry and Dutchtown's Tia Patterson. Photo by Dewey Keller.

The regular seasons are officially in the books. It's now time for some playoff softball.

And the postseason should prove to be a busy one for the parish as five local clubs earned playoff births when the official brackets were released last Thursday.

There wasn't much of a surprise in the 5A division. St. Amant, Dutchtown and East Ascension all punched their tickets for first-round home matchups. The three teams dominated District 5-5A and all remained in the top 10 for virtually the entire season.

Leading the pack was St. Amant--who garnered the No. 2 seed in the state only behind last year's state runner-up Hahnville. The Lady Gators actually beat the top-ranked Lady Tigers 10-3 earlier in the season.

St. Amant has been downright dominant ever since they got their full roster back. For the first two games of the season, three of their best players in Kara Gremillion, Jordan Hartman and Jaci Lavigne were absent as they were busy leading the Lady Gators to the basketball playoffs.

With the trio gone, St. Amant dropped their first two games. However, since getting the three back, they have won 24 straight games as they ended the regular season 24-2 with a perfect 10-0 mark in the district.

Being led by 17-win pitcher Kasey Nielson, the Lady Gators have not given up more than five runs all year and have pitched 10 shutouts.

They're trying to get over the hump this year after falling in the semifinals last season.

St. Amant drew a first-round matchup with No. 31 Lafayette--a team that finished just 13-14 and limped their way into the postseason with five losses in their final six games.

The Lady Gators made quick work of them--winning 14-0 in five innings. The easy win set up a second-round matchup with No. 18 Airline.

Airline will host the game after going on the road in the first round and upsetting No. 15 Denham Springs 5-3. They were 16-11 during the regular season.

Dutchtown finished second in the district as they compiled a solid 19-7 overall record and 8-2 mark within league play.

The Lady Griffins are shooting for a longer run in the playoffs this season after falling in the second round of last year's postseason.

They captured the No. 6 ranking in the state and drew a first-round matchup with No. 27 Ponchatoula. Ponchatoula went 12-10 for the year and ended the season with four wins in their final five games.

The Lady Griffins the Green Wave 11-1 to set up a second-round matchup on the road Saturday against No. 22 H.L. Bourgeois.

H.L. Bourgeois upset No. 11 Quachita Parish 2-1in the opening round and were 18-10 during the regular season.

The East Ascension Lady Spartans finished third in District 5-5A with an overall record of 19-8 and a district mark of 6-4.

The Lady Spartans, led by LSU-bound Bailey Landry and impressive freshman Claire Weinberger, were hoping to flaunt their dangerous offense past the quarterfinals. That's where East Ascension's season ended last year.

The No. 8 Lady Spartans drew a first-round matchup with No. 25 Sulphur--a team that finished 13-10 and won their final six games.

The hot-streak continued for them as they pulled the huge upset over East Ascension 8-3--ending the Lady Spartans season much earlier than expected. They're off now to the second round for a matchup with No. 9 Mt. Carmel.

In the 1A division, Ascension Catholic led the way. The Lady Bulldogs proved to be a worthy top-10 team all season long as they finished with an impressive 20-6 record.

In District 9-1A, they clashed with St. John for the district title, but they just couldn't get over the hump. Ascension Catholic finished 8-2 in the district, and both losses were to the Lady Eagles by scores of 3-0 and 3-2.

Even though they had to settle for second place, they were able to get a seeding one better than St. John.

The Lady Bulldogs entered the playoffs as the No. 7 seed, hoping to make a deep run after a first-round exit last year. They drew a matchup with No. 26 Delhi Charter--a team that went just 14-15 for the season and lost four of their final five games.

Ascension Catholic proved worthy of their high ranking as they cruised to an 8-2 win--putting them through to the regional round where they'll play No. 10 Merryville at home on Friday.

Merryville beat Gueydan 8-0 in the opening round and finished with a regular season record of 17-8.

Finally, the Lady Bulldogs' District 9-1A counterpart Ascension Christian earned themselves a spot in the playoff bracket.

The Lady Lions finished the regular season 17-8 and third in the district with a 6-4 record. Most impressively, Ascension Christian ended the year winning 10 of their final 11 games.

Despite the great win-loss record and late-season charge, the Lady Lions had to settle for a No. 19 seeding in the playoffs. That drew them a first-round road matchup with No. 14 South Cameron--a team that went 15-8 and won four of their final five games.

The matchup proved to be too tough for Ascension Christian as they fell hard 15-5. South Cameron will now go on to the second round to play No. 3 seed Catholic of Pointe Coupee in New Roads.