EA weathers first-inning storm to beat Dutchtown
With Jessie Watts and Ali McCoy controlling the game from the circle, hits were hard to come by for East Ascension and Dutchtown last Thursday.
But when the Lady Spartans needed to conjure up some offense, they did. They weathered the storm of a two-run first inning surge by the Lady Griffins to score three unanswered and win the huge district clash, 3-2.
"Ali McCoy was great; she controlled most of the game, but our kids never lost confidence," East Ascension head coach Amy Pitre said. "I told them, 'let's keep them at two,' and they kept fighting and fighting, and it worked. I'm just so happy how they stuck with it because a lot of teams, with Ali controlling the game like she was, they would have gone up there without a hope. They just stuck to the plan."
Dutchtown started the game on fire.
Watts, the recent UL-Monroe commit, fell into some trouble early on as a catcher-interference call allowed Baylee Bourgeois to reach first. She then stole second.
McCoy belted out an RBI single that brought Bourgeois home. Royelle Cobb's RBI single gave the Lady Griffins a 2-0 lead.
Watts responded from the plate in the bottom of the first inning when she nailed a two-outs double.
Mackenzie Andrews then came through with an RBI single to trim the deficit to 2-1.
From there, both pitchers settled in and dominated. McCoy was striking batters out with ease and though Watts wasn't collecting any K's, Dutchtown couldn't sustain any offense against her.
After Watts forced the Lady Griffins to go three up and three down in the top of the fifth, East Ascension was finally able to get the best of McCoy.
LSU commit Claire Weinberger had been uncharacteristically 0-2 in the game, but she got on base to start the inning. Coach Pitre thought her lead-off walk turned the game around.
"Claire Weinberger sets the tone for us. It's tough to sit her down three times and fool her three times and if she can get us going, she's our spark," Pitre said. "If she can get on and set the tone, we have been really good behind her. She did that. She got on, and we did what we usually do behind her."
After Weinberger got on base, Verlencia Jackson earned herself an infield single.
Watts then came through agin--this time with an RBI double to tie the game.
After Andrews walked, Callie Sholmire hit a hot shot to Taylor Heck at short. Heck couldn't handle it--allowing a run to score and give East Ascension their first lead at 3-2.
Dutchtown tried to fight back in the next inning after a McCoy single, but Weinberger turned a pretty double-play to squash the Lady Spartan scoring threat.
In the seventh, a throwing error followed by a Katie Cloud infield single had the Lady Griffins' hopes up once again. However, two straight ground-outs to Weinberger allowed East Ascension to close out the big win.
Watts only allowed six hits for the game and went 2-2 with a walk and an RBI from the plate. Andrews also went 2-2 with a walk and an RBI.
It was a tough loss for McCoy. She collected 12 strikeouts and went 2-3 with an RBI.
The loss was only Dutchtown's second of the season.
"I thought there were a couple of times where we didn't make plays that we needed to make but you hear it all of the time, defense wins championships," Lady Griffin head coach Nancy Ensminger said. "We played tight "D," but you also have to hit.
"Kudos to Jessie Watts. She did a great job of keeping my batters off balance. We'll regroup, and we're going to come back stronger next time we play them. I promise."
Meanwhile, it was a huge win for East Ascension. The Lady Spartans had a rough weekend at the St. Amant Invitational when they lost all three of their games.
They were able to bounce back with four straight victories last week--the capper being the come-from-behind 3-2 win over Dutchtown.
"We dropped three in a row last weekend, and it's not the end of the world. It's just the beginning of district," Pitre said. "I'm not going to say our kids needed to lose because I don't believe in that, but we needed to get back into the routine of learning how to win and what it takes to win because we didn't do the little things right during the weekend, and those little things cost you games."