ND survives Buckeye, Kaplan; advance to Class 3A title game

SULPHUR - It was more like a prize fight between two heavyweight title contenders than a Class 3A state semifinal softball game.

No. 6 seed Notre Dame and No. 2 Buckeye went toe-to-toe for seven long innings in the Fast Pitch 56 Tournament at Frasch Park, and, in the end, it was the Lady Pios that had the more devastating punch.

The Lady Pios roughed up reigning Class 3A state MVP pitcher Mikayla Brown for 21 hits and put the finishing touches on an impressive 16-12 victory with three runs in the top of the seventh inning.

“We knew we needed to have smart at-bats and that we couldn’t swing at trash,” said Notre Dame coach Dusty Collette, whose team had 16 singles, four doubles and one home run in the victory. “We made her (Brown) pitch good balls that we could drive. We took advantage of good balls in the zone and put good swings on the ball.”

Brown, who led Buckeye to the state title in 2012 with an earned run average of under 1.0, faced 45 Lady Pios on the day. She walked one, hit one and struck out three.

 “She (Brown) is known for being a dominant pitcher,” said Collette. “We had a game plan for if things went well and for if things didn’t go well. Fortunately, it went really well and we just kept on it.”

The Lady Pios scored at least two runs in six of the seven innings and posted six runs on the board in the final two frames.

But it was the three runs that the Lady Pios pushed across in the top of the seventh inning that really took the wind out of Buckeye’s sails.

The Lady Panthers had just rallied from a 13-7 deficit and cut the lead to 13-12 after a big five-run sixth inning that included five hits and one Notre Dame error.

Notre Dame answered in the top of the seventh with three runs on four hits. Elise LeBeouf got things started with a single to center and Mollie Stelly, Taylor Satchell and Zoie Lavergne each followed with run- scoring singles.

“We were at the beginning of our order with our three-hole up, Elise, and I figured we had a good opportunity to spread the lead a little bit more and give us a little bit more cushion,” said Collette. “The girls stuck to the script and we just kept the peddle to the metal.”

Lady Pios’ pitcher Mollie Stelly, who struggled with Buckeye’s top of the order for most of the game, sat the Lady Panthers down in order in the bottom of the seventh to preserve the victory. She sandwiched a ground out between two flyouts.

On the day, Stelly surrendered 13 hits, walked one and hit two batters. She had one strikeout in seven innings.

“Mollie went out there and battled,” said Collette. “You have to give them (Buckeye) credit, they are a heck of a team. They are the type of team that if you put it anywhere near the zone, they can hit it. But Mollie did a great job and we did enough defensively to survive.”

The Lady Pios did commit three errors that led to five unearned runs, however.

“We did have some mistakes here and there, but that’s been our thing all year,” said Collette. “We bend but don’t break.”

Offensively, the Lady Pios were led by Taylor Satchell’s 4-for-5 performance that included four RBI. LeBeouf followed with a pair of singles, a home run and two RBI; Taylor Boulet had a double, two singles and one RBI and Allie Daigle had three singles.

Zoie Lavergne led a quartet of players with two hits each. She also had a double and drove in three runs while Stelly had two singles and two RBI and Brittney Nolan had two singles. Alexa Thibodeaux added a single and an RBI and Meagan Murrell rounded out the offense with a single.

The Lady Pios took on No. 1 Brusly last night in the Class 3A championship game but results of that contest were not available at press time. Photos and a game story from the title game will run in Tuesday’s edition of The Crowley Post-Signal.

Lady Pios’ early lead

enough against Kaplan

SULPHUR - Notre Dame’s Lady Pios jumped out to an early lead and fended off a late rally to hang on for an 8-5 victory over No. 3-seed Kaplan Friday in a Class 3A quarterfinal contest at Frasch Park.

The Lady Pios wasted little time in getting on the board, posting three runs in the opening frame on two hits and two walks off Kaplan hurler Abby Trahan.

Brittney Nolan drove in a pair of runs with a single to center field and Taylor Satchell drew a bases-loaded walk to send another run home.

Kaplan answered with a two-run home run by Kristie Thibodeaux in the bottom of the second inning to cut the lead to 3-2.

But that was as close as the Lady Pirates would get.

The Lady Pios added a pair of runs in the third inning on an error and an RBI by Satchell on a fielder’s choice.

Four innings later, they added three more runs thanks to an RBI single by Alexa Thibodeaux and an RBI double by Nolan.

As it turned out, the latter proved to be huge.

That’s because the Lady Pirates rallied in the bottom of the inning, getting a three-run home run from Lindsey Schexnaider with two outs.

Fortunately, Lady Pio hurler Mollie Stelly ended the contest one batter later with a strikeout.

Stelly picked up the victory after surrendering five runs on seven hits and four walks. She struck out 10.

The Lady Pios were led at the plate by Elise LeBeouf, who finished with three hits and Nolan, who had two hits, including a double and three RBI.

Thibodeaux also had two hits and she drove in one run. Zoie Lavergne and Taylor Boulet each had one hits and Satchell accounted for three RBI.

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