Brusly upends Lady Pios in title game

SULPHUR – Heading into the Class 3A championship softball game, the Notre Dame Lady Pios had been nearly flawless in the field and virtually unstoppable at the plate.

All that changed at the most inopportune time.

The Lady Pios (27-8) were limited to just four hits by Brusly pitcher Carli Jo LeBlanc and they committed a pair of costly errors that led to three unearned runs in falling to the top-seeded Lady Panthers, 5-3, in the 3A title game of the Fast Pitch 56 State Tournament at Frasch Park Saturday evening.

“You cannot make mistakes against good teams,” said Notre Dame coach Dusty Collette, whose team was able to overcome a pair of errors in their two earlier tournament games to reach the finals. “In any game in the playoffs, you can’t give your opponents any breaks.

“We gave them some breaks here and there and in the championship game, you can’t do that.

“It came back to bite us.”

The errors allowed Brusly to rally from a 1-0 deficit and take the lead in the third inning. They scored a pair of runs, one unearned, on two hits and an error in the frame.

Another error to start the fifth inning led to three more runs, two unearned, which ultimately sealed the Lady Pios’ fate.

“It was a little surprising because the kids that had those errors are usually pretty solid,” said Collette. “The rain had started to come down so I don’t know if that was one of the reasons for the mistakes.

“Ultimately, they (Brusly) made the plays that they had to in order to win and we didn’t.”

The errors, however, weren’t the only problem for the Lady Pios in the title game.

After combining for 35 hits in their previous two games, including a 21-hit onslaught against Buckeye in the semifinals, the Lady Pios were limited to just four hits by Brusly’s Carli Jo LeBlanc.

LeBlanc, the title game’s Outstanding Player, allowed just three runs, walked one and struck out six in seven innings.

“I knew she (LeBlanc) was a very talented pitcher and I knew we maybe weren’t going to hit the ball as well as we did against Buckeye,” said Collette. “We got a couple of hits off her, but she did a great job of keeping us off balance. She worked around in the zone and they were able to make the plays.”

The Lady Pios got to LeBlanc early when Allie Daigle logged a one-out single in the first inning and Elise LeBeouf followed with a run-scoring triple to give Notre Dame a 1-0 advantage.

All was well until the third.

Claire Daigle started Brusly’s rally when she reached base on a one-out error.  Next, Akilya Thymes singled down the left field line.

Carli Comeaux then put the finishing touches on the inning with a double to left center field to give Brusly a 2-1 lead.

The Lady Pios’ second error of the contest occurred in the fifth inning and sparked a three-run frame for the Lady Panthers.

Comeaux reached on an errant throw to start the frame and she scored one batter later on Lanesha Taylor’s double to center field. Then, following a strikeout and a walk, Maddie Lapraire singled in a run.

Shelby Fleming pushed across the final run on a groundout.

The Lady Pios’ last hurrah occurred in the sixth inning when Daigle led off with an infield single and eventually scored on a wild pitch.

LeBeouf also had a single in the frame and she scored on a groundout by Alexia Thibodeaux.

“I told the girls before the game to play hard and leave it all out on the field and I thought we did that,” said Collette. “I thought they played hard until the end so I’m proud of them for that.”

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