Lady Gators begin the season strongly at Coach I Tournament

Kyle Riviere

After Mother Nature teased and tortured the St. Amant Lady Gators for the last two weeks, they were chomping at the bit to finally get on the field and play their first game.

Last Friday night, they finally got the chance as they played Byrd in the opening game of the Coach I Memorial Tournament at Butch Gore Park.

"The sun was shining, and it was absolutely amazing. Of course, the kids had the itch for so long, and we have nine new starters this year," Lady Gator head coach Scott Nielson said. "They really had the itch to get out there and prove themselves and to just play a game. I told them all along to worry about the things that you can control, and you can't control the weather."

St. Amant took their frustrations out on the Lady Yellow Jackets as they blanked them, 12-0.

"We were very excited with the outcome. The kids did a great job for the first time out--especially with so many first-year starters," Nielson said. "Out of the 10 kids that played today, nine of them were first-year starters."

Prior to Friday night's easy win, St. Amant tried to open their season two weeks ago against Walker, but that game was cancelled due to the bad weather. Games against Mount Carmel and Lutcher were also called for weather during the second week of the season.

The Lady Gators made a statement early on as they jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning, and they took a 5-0 advantage into the second after a walk by UL-Lafayette signee Kara Gremillion.

St. Amant scored two more runs in the third as Kourtney Gremillion led off the inning with a single that dropped into centerfield.

Abby McKey followed it up with a single of her own, and Pamela Carbo cleaned things up with an RBI double against the leftfield wall.

After McKenzie King reached base due to a Byrd fielding error, another run came home to make the score 7-0.

In the top of the fourth, Taylor Tidwell got on base to lead off the inning after a Byrd fielding error. Tidwell ended up stealing second and then getting to third. With the Lady Yellow Jacket fielders having a lapse in concentration, Tidwell alertly sprinted home and scored another run to put the Lady Gators up 8-0.

The Lady Gators put the game away in the fifth inning.

King and Rylee Langlois started things off with back-to-back singles. Kara Gremillion then brought home both runners with an infield two-RBI single.

Tidwell then crushed a two-run homer over the leftfield wall to put the lead at 12-0.

The Lady Yellow Jackets had a chance to keep the game alive in the bottom of the inning, but Gabby Sharpe continued to mow them down. She struck out all three batters she faced to end things early and give St. Amant the easy 12-0 victory.

With 21-game winner Skylar Cook gone, the Lady Gators were looking to Sharp to step up and be their ace. She didn't disappoint in her opening start as she pitched the shutout.

"Gabby Sharp pitched her behind off against a really good team. I tell the kids all of the time that it's impossible to lose when the other team doesn't score," Nielson said. "Defense was good; we made the plays. We didn't give them anything; we made them earn it.

"We had good plans and good approaches at the plate, and I'm just real happy for the kids and the way they conducted themselves after being caged up the past few weeks."

After the win Friday night, St. Amant went on to finish the tournament a perfect 3-0. On Saturday morning, they crushed Walker, 11-1, and that evening, they beat up on Plaquemine, 4-0.