Lady Pios earn first-round home game
CROWLEY – Heading into last week, Notre Dame’s Lady Pios already knew they were a lock for the playoffs.
By defeating Kaplan, 6-4, on April 7, the Lady Pios clinched second place in District 5-AAA and, in doing so, earned an automatic bid into the state playoffs.
On Friday, Notre Dame was seeded No. 11 in Class AAA when the Louisiana High School Athletic Association released its 2011 playoff brackets. The Lady Pios will entertain No. 22 Plaquemine in the first round Monday at the Crowley Recreation Department’s Hensgens Field. First pitch for that contest is slated for 5 p.m.
“We’re definitely ready to go,” said ND coach Lauren Delahoussaye once the brackets were released. “We finished (the regular season) on a good note and, hopefully, we can continue that momentum into the playoffs.
The Lady Pios, Class AAA’s defending state champions, won five of their last seven games and finished the season with an overall record of 18-10.
More impressively, they pulled off a 5-4 victory over Class AAAA’s No. 1 seed, Sam Houston, on Wednesday. The Lady Pios actually led that game 5-1 before giving up three runs in the seventh inning.
“We played some pretty tough competition throughout the whole season,” said Delahoussaye. “I just feel that towards the end, we’re coming together a little bit better and we’re playing a little stronger mentally. As long as we come out ready to play, I think we’ll be okay.”
Notre Dame is also in the same bracket with rival and District 5-AAA champion Kaplan. Should both teams win their respective first-round games, they would meet up in the regional round in Kaplan.
Kaplan beat Notre Dame, 6-5, in Crowley in the first half of district play but the Lady Pios rebounded for a 6-4 victory over the Lady Pirates in the league finale.
“You know, the seedings are something that is out of our control,” said Delahoussaye. “We just have to go out and play the best that we can and, hopefully, we’ll come out on top and find ourselves in the quarterfinals again.”
Crowley High also earned an automatic berth by placing second in District 4-AAA behind league champion Iowa.
The Ladies are the No. 20 seed and will be on the road for their first-round game against Caldwell Parish Monday.
“It’s always good when you extend your season,” said CHS coach Megan Melancon. “I think everyone is excited about that.”
The Ladies recorded one of their best records in recent years, finishing with an overall record of 15-7. They reeled off four of those victories in tournament play to claim the Port Allen Invitational title.
“We had a few losses in there that could have gone the other way had we not made a few errors here and there,” said Melancon. “But this is one of the best records we’ve had in quite a few years so everyone is pretty excited about that.”
In Melancon’s first season at the helm, she has somewhat surpassed expectations.
“I don’t think a lot of people expected us to have that good of a season and make the playoffs,” said Melancon. “I expected it. I knew if we did everything that we worked on, we would make it. We put in a lot of hard work and it is paying off.”
Rayne and Church Point also earned postseason berths, claiming two of Class AAA’s 10 wild card slots.
Rayne (15-8) enters as the No. 12 seed and will play host to North DeSoto Tuesday at 5 p.m. while Church Point (12-11) is the No. 24 seed and will travel to Avoyelles for a 6 p.m. contest, also on Tuesday.
In Class AA, the Iota Lady Bulldogs earned a wild card berth after finishing the regular season with a record of 19-8.
The Lady Dogs, who finished fourth in District 5-AA with a record of 8-4, are the No. 14 seed and will play host to No. 19 Doyle on Tuesday at 5 p.m.