Three District 5-5A softball teams open up playoff action

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
St. Amant headed into the softball playoffs as the top seed for the second straight year. Photo by DKMoon Photography.

Ascension's big three teams of St. Amant, East Ascension and Dutchtown that represent District 5-5A are back in the playoffs and back in hot pursuit of an elusive state title.

All three squads won more than 20 games and all three teams earned top-seven seeds when the LHSAA playoff brackets were released last Thursday.

The last two weeks have been a mess. Teams were forced to restructure their schedules due to the nasty weather. In fact, most teams didn't even get to play their final regular-season contests.

The LHSAA wanted all regular-season action to be completed by 10 p.m. on Wednesday night. Any games not played by that deadline would simply not be played at all.

This affected all three of the parish's 5A powers. Both Dutchtown and St. Amant had their final two games rained out, and East Ascension missed multiple games as well.

Either way, St. Amant was able to earn the top seed in the state for the second straight year. East Ascension grabbed the No. 6 seed and Dutchtown was awarded the seventh seed.

The Lady Gators steam-rolled the competition throughout the year. They finished a perfect 24-0 and won 20 of those games by five runs or more. They scored at least five runs in every single contest.

First-year ace Gabby Sharp has led the effort from the circle as she has gone a perfect 21-0. She has yet to lose. Dating back to last year, she is 30-0 as a St. Amant starting pitcher.

From the plate, UL-Lafayette signee Kara Gremillion has been their biggest threat.

The Lady Gators have their eyes set on a state title after a very disappointing end to last season. Despite being the state's top seed, they were upset by ninth-seeded Pineville in the quarterfinals, 8-1.

St. Amant drew a first-round matchup with No. 32 Chalmette--which mirrors last year. Chalmette went 15-10 during the regular season.

The Lady Gators won in just five innings with a score of 12-0.  It pushed them to a home second-round matchup with No. 16 Barbe on Friday evening.

Sixth-seeded East Ascension headed into the playoffs fresh off of a 7-0 blanking to the Lady Gators.

Overall, the Lady Spartans finished 20-7 and 7-2 in the district.

They're led by UL-Monroe commit Jessie Watts from the circle, but Watts has also proven to be one of their best hitters as well. LSU commit Claire Weinberger is their most consistent batter.

East Ascension was also beaten in the quarterfinals last year as they blew an eight-run lead to drop a sickening 11-10 decision to eventual state champion Quachita Parish.

They're trying to leave that bad memory far behind this year as they head into the playoffs as a sixth seed.

They drew a first-round matchup with No. 27 Acadiana in the first round. Acadiana finished 13-12 during the regular season.

The Lady Spartans blanked Acadiana, 7-0.  They're off to the second round, where they'll host No. 11 Walker on Friday evening.

Dutchtown was able to earn a No. 7 seeding after finishing the regular season 22-8 and 5-4 in the district.

Ali McCoy has been a force for them both at the circle and from the plate. Bria White and Hope Vezinat--both college signees--have helped boost the offensive power.

The Lady Griffins have the most to prove heading into the playoffs after getting upset in the first round last year.

This season, they drew a first-round matchup with No. 26 seed Ruston. Ruston finished just 9-16 this season and lost 11 of their final 12 games.

Dutchtown slid by Ruston with a 3-0 victory.  It sets up a home second-round matchup with No. 10 Hahnville on Saturday morning.