All bases covered

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
St. Amant's Jordan Hartman rounds the bases after a home run in the Lady Gators' 13-4 win over Dutchtown. Photo by Dewey Keller.

Dutchtown traded shots with St. Amant for the first four innings but in the fifth, the Lady Gators landed a huge haymaker that put the Lady Griffins on the canvas. They never recovered.

The seven-run explosion quickly transformed a tied ball game into yet another blowout victory for St. Amant as they remained undefeated in district play with the impressive 13-4 win.

The action was tight early. Dutchtown's Ali McCoy and the Lady Gators' Skylar Cook were both impressive from the circle to start the game--pitching shutouts for the first two innings.

Finally, in the bottom of the third, the first runs were scored.

Kara Gremillion put things into motion early as she belted out a single between the gap at second and short.

After Madison Edmonston walked, Alli DeLany drilled an RBI double against the leftfield wall. Not long afterward, Kayla Braud sent Edmonston home with a sacrifice fly.

Facing the 2-0 deficit, Dutchtown responded in a big way the next inning.

McCoy got on base to start the inning after a throwing error to first.

That's when power-hitter Jessica Crum came to the plate. Cook tried to walk her, but she didn't quite get the pitch far enough out of the zone. Crum crushed the ball over the centerfield wall for a two-run homer.

Bria White then gave the Lady Griffins back-to-back bombs as she took the ball for a ride over the leftfield wall to give Dutchtown a 3-2 lead.

The hitting display continued at the bottom of the inning as Jordan Hartman led off with a blast over the leftfield wall to tie the game for St. Amant.

Later, the Lady Gators loaded the bases, and Edmonston sent a runner home with a sacrifice fly to regain the advantage for St. Amant.

Dutchtown answered back to start the fifth as Bailey Gilleon led off with a single, and McCoy sent her home with a shot against the centerfield wall.

That tied the game once again, but it didn't stay that way for long. St. Amant used the bottom half of the inning to unleash a huge flurry that put the game away.

After Braud and Kourtney Gremillion got on base, Hartman got herself an RBI double. That led to a pitching change as Dutchtown brought in Ashara Grimes.

It didn't make a difference. Cook promptly sent an RBI double down the leftfield line.

The bases then quickly became loaded as Jaci Lavigne and Kara Gremillion walked, and Carlie Whittington got on board with a fielding error.

After Grimes walked a run home, she was given the hook for Kayla Orgeron, but she struggled as well.

Orgeron walked home two straight runners and then gave up an RBI single to Kourtney Gremillion before finally getting out of the inning. But the damage was certainly done as St. Amant led 11-4.

Lady Gator head coach Scott Nielson was very happy with his team's patience in the inning as they came away with five walks.

"We talk about it all of the time, extending the inning and getting the next batter to the plate," Nielson said. "Whether they're getting walked or hit by a pitch, we'll take it. If they're going to give it to us, we'll take it any way we can. A run is a run. We need base-runners; we don't need heroes."

Conversely, Dutchtown head coach Nancy Ensminger was extremely disappointed with how her team performed in the crucial inning.

"You can't have innings like that, you can't make mistakes and you can't walk batters," Ensminger said. "I told my pitchers that when they come into an inning like that, be expecting the situation where you're going to have to get out of it. I know that's a lot of pressure to put on them, but great pitchers can work above that and get out of the situation."

After the fifth, Cook really settled in and shut down the Lady Griffins from the plate.

As for the St. Amant bats, they produced two more runs after some sloppy defense by Dutchtown in the sixth, followed by an RBI single by DeLany.

Overall, Hartman led the Lady Gators in the 13-4 win as she went 2-4 with a home run and two RBIs. DeLany and Cook also went 2-4 with DeLany collecting two RBIs.

Kara Gremillion went 2-3 with two walks. A total of 11 St. Amant batters were walked throughout the course of the game.

Cook was roughed up in the fourth as she gave up two hits and three runs but outside of that inning, she was stout--only giving up four hits and one score.

"She did well to just give up a total of six hits to that team," Nielson said. "Unfortunately, two of them were home runs, but we knew what they were capable of. We knew we were going to have to score some runs to beat them, but I'm proud of the kids and their effort. They prepared well."

Though the loss was lopsided, Coach Ensminger still likes where her team sits at 17-4 and 4-1 in district play.

"We're going to have to take what happened tonight, learn from it and improve from it. We're still doing well," Ensminger said. "I know we can beat this team, and I know we can hit their pitching; that's obvious, but we have to play defense. Defense wins championships, and our defense let us down tonight."

As for St. Amant, they've continued to be impressive. After wins over both East Ascension and Dutchtown and a 2-1 showing in a tournament at West Monroe last weekend, the Lady Gators stand at 20-2 and 5-0 in district.

"It's not about what you did last week or even what you did today," Nielson said. "You have to continue to prepare and get better, eliminate mistakes and hopefully, our best softball is ahead of us."