Lady Pios knock off Buckeye in semifinals
SULPHUR - Small ball hasn’t exactly been the forte of Notre Dame’s Lady Pios this season.
But when it mattered most Saturday, with Notre Dame locked in a 1-1 tie with No. 2 seed Buckeye in the Class AAA semifinals at Frasch Park, the Lady Pios were up to the task.
With one out and a runner at third in the seventh inning, Notre Dame’s Meranda LeBlanc laid down a squeeze bunt, allowing Taylor Simon to score the eventual winning run and propelling the Lady Pios into the state title game against Parkview Baptist.
Final score: Notre Dame 2, Buckeye 1.
The Lady Pios and Parkview met Saturday evening. Results of that game were not available at presstime.
“Hitting isn’t always going go get the job done,” said Notre Dame coach Lauren Delahoussaye, whose team logged just two hits off Buckeye freshman hurler Kelsea Wallace.
“We have to lay bunts down when we have to lay bunts down and, fortunately, we were able to do that today.”
LeBlanc, one of Nortre Dame’s leading hitters, stepped to the plate in the seventh with the chance to be the hero courtsey of a leadoff double in the final frame by Simon.
A ground out to second by Hannah Godeaux pushed Simon to third, setting the table for LeBlanc.
“We practice everybody bunting because you never know who is going to be up whenever we need it,” said Delahoussaye. “Everybody has to lay bunts down and that’s one of the things that we stress.”
Delahoussaye’s decision to bunt wasn’t an easy one however.
“Meranda is a hitter and I really had to debate what to do,” said Delahoussaye. “I really wanted to let her hit (away), but I had to be unselfish for her and the team. I think she’s a great hitter and I think she could have drove the run in. But in the seventh inning, and we needed that one run, we had to bunt.”
The victory sent the Lady Pios to the championship game for the first time since 2004 when they defeated Menard 7-5 to claim the school’s first ever state softball title.
“This is just such a great feeling,” said Delahoussaye. “The girls really deserve this. They have worked so hard all year. We said since the beginning of the season that we were going to play for the state title. I don’t know if they really believed it then, but now that we’re here, I think it’s setting in.”
Saturday’s semifinal was a nailbiter from the first pitch.
Notre Dame’s first hit of the game wasn’t until the fourth inning, coming with Buckeye holding a 1-0 lead.
Alex Boulet provided the first Notre Dame hit, leading off the frame with a bunt single. She advanced to second on a ground out by Taylor Boulet and scored to tie the game at 1-1 when Hannah Godeaux hit a chopper just off the glove of Buckeye first baseman Vonnie Eldridge.
That allowed the speeding Alex Boulet to score from second.
Buckeye scored its only run two innings earlier when Louisiana College signee Kayla Tobey doubled to right center and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Jessica Johnson.
Following the second inning, however, Buckeye had just one runner reach base - that on a walk.
Lady Pio pitcher Hannah Godeaux set the Lady Panthers down in order over the final four innings. In all, she gave up just two hits and logged one walk and one strikeout while getting 11 groundouts and nine flyouts.
“Hannah did a great job of hitting her spots today,” said Delahoussaye. “She’s shaking off pitches here and there which is good. She’s getting a little bit of freedom. She’s just being real smart.”
ND 3, CHSNI 0
Notre Dame got a stellar pitching performance from Hannah Godeaux and a clutch home run from Caroline Stewart Friday to slip past Catholic High of New Iberia, 3-0, in the first round of the Fast Pitch 56 Tournament at Frasch Park.
Godeaux was stellar on the mound, scattering just three hits in seven innings. The senior hurler walked two and struck out one in the shutout victory.
Catholic High’s Abby Henagan was equally impressive in the oval, limiting the Lady Pios to five hits on the day.
Taylor Boulet got the Lady Pios on the board in the fourth inning when she led off the frame with a triple to right past a diving Lauren Jolivette and scored on a squeeze bunt by Godeaux.
Stewart added to the lead in the seventh when she led off the frame with a line drive home run to left against a fierce crosswind. Katherine Kirsch then doubled and scored when Heidi Bellard, who walked, got caught in a run-down between first and second base.
Catholic High got the tying run to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the seventh following a hit and a walk before Godeaux got Alyssa Hernandez to ground out to shortstop to end the game.