High-school softball playoffs begin in parish

Kyle Riviere
St. Amant's Alyssa Romano collected 10 strikeouts in the Lady Gators' first-round playoff victory over Live Oak. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

With the arrival of mid-April, comes the beginning of the high-school softball playoffs. In just two short weeks, the best teams in the state will be in Sulphur competing for state championships.

When it comes to Ascension Parish, five of the six schools made the postseason.

In Class 5A, St. Amant garnered the highest seeding at No. 4. They hosted Live Oak (12-15) in the opening round.

The Lady Gators finished the regular season with a record of 23-2-1. This included an undefeated run in District 5-5A, which netted them another league title.

They haven't lost since March 15.

St. Amant took care of business in the opening round Friday evening, but it didn't come easy early on.

The game was scoreless all the way until the top of the fourth. There, Live Oak scratched a run to take a 1-0 lead. However. the Lady Gators had a prompt answer in the bottom of the frame.

Payton Granier led off with a double. Live Oak pitcher Emalea Dimaio then walked five of the next six batters she faced. Along the way, Granier scored on a wild pitch to tie the game.

Kelsi Martine then gave the Lady Gators the lead with an RBI single.

Later, Granier was batting for the second time in the inning. She got herself another hit, this time driving in a run. Rylee Rossi also collected an RBI single.

By the time the inning was over. St. Amant had scored seven runs to take a 7-1 lead. They eventually won the game, 8-1.

In the victory, pitcher Alyssa Romano only gave up four hits and one unearned run. She struck out 10 batters.

The win pushed the Lady Gators onto the second round, where they drew a Tuesday matchup at home against No. 13 West Monroe. It was West Monroe that upset St. Amant last year in the second round.

The Rebels are 18-10 and coming off of a 6-1 first-round win over Acadiana.

Dutchtown earned the No. 16 seed after finishing the regular season with a 20-10 record. After beginning the year at just 6-8, the Lady Griffins went 14-2 in their final 16 games.

In the opening round, they hosted No. 17 Sulphur (17-9). Their season ended with an 11-3 loss to the Tors.

Also in Class 5A, East Ascension made the field as the No. 28 seed. They went 12-12 during the regular season and finished as the District 5-5A runner-up. However, they finished just 2-5 in their final seven games.

In the opening round, they had to travel to eighth-seeded Walker (21-9).

The Lady Spartans were stymied, 7-1. Their struggles came from the plate, where they were totally handcuffed by pitcher Lainee Bailey. Bailey threw a one-hitter and struck out 10 East Ascension batters.

There were also two parish teams that garnered high seeds in the Division-IV playoffs.

Ascension Christian earned their highest playoff seeding in school history. They entered the field as the fourth seed.

The Lady Lions went 19-6 during the regular season and finished as the District 6-1A runner-up .

In the opening round, they'll host No. 13 Sacred Heart (10-13) on Tuesday. Ascension Christian is seeking its first ever playoff victory.

Ascension Catholic made the field as the seventh seed. The Lady Bulldogs finished 17-14 and won another District 6-1A championship.

After beginning the year in a 5-11 hole, Ascension Catholic went 12-3 in their final 15 games.

The Lady Bulldogs reached the state semifinals last season. To get there again, they'll have to begin the postseason with a home win over No. 10 St. John (14-9), a district rival, on Tuesday.

During the season, Ascension Catholic won their lone matchup against the Lady Eagles, 4-2.