East Ascension and Dutchtown brace for quarterfinals in Sulphur
St. Amant will not be the only Gonzales-area team making the trip to Sulphur this weekend. With second-round playoff victories, both East Ascension and Dutchtown will also get their shot at a state title in the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Fast Pitch 56.
On Friday, the sixth-seeded Lady Spartans made easy work of No. 11 Walker--blowing them out, 11-1, to reach Sulphur for the second straight year.
As for seventh-seeded Dutchtown, they reached the quarterfinals for the first time in two years by coming back from 2-0 down to beat 10th-seeded Hahnville, 3-2, on Sunday.
East Ascension has been on a mission ever since letting a 9-1 lead in last year's quarterfinal game against Ouachita Parish slip through their fingers in a gut-wrenching 11-10 defeat.
In their first-round contest against Acadiana, pitcher Jessie Watts struck out nine and pitched a shutout as East Ascension cruised to a 7-0 victory.
They kept the momentum going in their second-round game against Walker.
After a weather delay, the Lady Spartans came out firing as they collected four hits and two runs in the bottom of the first to take the opening lead.
Walker cut that lead in half in the third inning when Kelsey Cifreo came through with an RBI single.
The 2-1 Lady Spartan advantage lasted until the fifth inning when East Ascension finally added an insurance run to stretch the advantage to 3-1.
In the sixth, the game came to an abrupt end as the Lady Spartans exploded for eight runs to take the victory by way of the 10-run rule.
Watts was great from the circle once again as she only yielded four hits and struck out five. She also had three hits and two RBIs.
MacKenzie Andrews and Bria Aikens both went 3-4. Andrews had one RBI while Aikens had two. Claire Weinberger chipped in to go 2-4 with two runs batted in.
The victory was East Ascension's 22nd of the year and pushed them to the quarterfinals, where they'll play 14th-seeded Zachary on Friday evening.
Zachary went 18-11 during the regular season. The two teams actually met back in March for the Coach I Memorial Tournament. East Ascension won the matchup, 5-1.
Dutchtown's trip to Sulphur proved to be much more of a challenge.
The Lady Griffins churned out a 3-0 victory over Ruston in the opening round.
Their second-round matchup with Hahnville was set for Saturday morning but after plenty of rain, the game was moved to Sunday evening.
For a while, things were not looking good for Dutchtown.
Hahnville's Madison Freman had an RBI single in the third and Maeson Marindale had one in the fifth to give them a 2-0 lead that lasted until the seventh inning.
Just four outs away from elimination, the gritty Lady Griffins made their last stand.
Ali McCoy started the rally as she came through with a two-outs infield single.
Bria White then doubled to score a run and cut the deficit to 2-1.
Hope Vezinat kept things going with another double to send White home and tie the game.
Finally, Dutchtown was able to take their first lead of the contest as Royelle Cobb sent a bloop singe into the outfield that scored Vezinat.
With the 3-2 advantage, McCoy was able to close things out from the circle in the bottom of the seventh to lift the Lady Griffins into the quarterfinals.
McCoy only gave up five hits in the win. From the plate, Vezinat led the way with a 2-3, one-RBI effort.
The Lady Griffins were eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs last year. This time, they are just two wins away from the championship game.
They will have the toughest quarterfinal matchup of all the parish's District 5-5A teams as they play second-seeded Mount Carmel on Friday evening. They went 20-3 during the regular season.
However, the Lady Griffins did hand them one of their three losses in an April 4 matchup. Dutchtown won the game, 1-0.