North Vermilion upsets Notre Dame

By Chris Quebedeaux

SPORTS EDITOR

CROWLEY – The Notre Dame Lady Pios struggled with inconsistency for most of the 2009 softball season and Tuesday it came around to bite them once again.

Only this time, it cost them much more than a game - it cost them their season.

The No. 13-seeded Lady Pios committed five errors, four in the fifth inning alone, that led to six unearned runs in a 7-1 loss to No. 20 seed North Vermilion in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs at Fats Leger Memorial Field.

“When you’re playing a team like North Vermilion, who comes from one of the toughest districts in the state, you can’t make mistakes. If you make a mistake, they will make you pay for it and they did today,” said Notre Dame coach Lance Reed, whose team finished the season with an overall record of 15-14. “With that said, we were waiting for them to make a mistake or for us to get a streak going at the plate and we didn’t get either one.”

The Lady Pios squandered two potential scoring threats early on when they left runners stranded in scoring position in two of the first three innings.

Alex Boulet singled to center with one out in the first inning. She then stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. However, a strikeout and a flyout to second left her stranded at third.

Then in the third, Taylor Simon beat out an infield hit with two outs and stole second before the inning ended with a groundout to second base.

“We made contact today, but we didn’t make good contact,” said Reed. “Good teams score when they have the opportunity. Not that we’re not a good team, we just weren’t consistent. We couldn’t come up with the timely hits.”

North Vermilion took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning when Randee Vincent doubled to center and scored on a squeeze bunt by Aimee Duhon.

Notre Dame answered with a run of their own to tie the game in the fourth when Meranda LeBlanc tripled to right field and scored on a single from Hannah Godeaux.

The error bug hit the Lady Pios the very next inning.

Two hits and three walks mixed in with four errors led to a six-run inning for the Lady Patriots.

“During our district season, it was the team that slipped up defensively first that usually cracked,” said North Vermilion coach Richard Prejean. “We were fortunate to play in 11 one-run ballgames and we’re 9-2 in those games. We kind of got used to pressure early on and I don’t think it’s anything new for our kids. They (Notre Dame) did make a bunch of mistakes, but we hit the ball really well.”

Randee Vincent and Mimi Bridges each drove in one run in the fifth inning and Emily Granger came through with a big two-run double off the center field wall.

“It was clutch hitting,” said Prejean. “We haven’t had that all year long. We’ve had to beat people 1-0 and 2-1. It’s finally nice to get a little clutch hitting.”

The six-run outburst in the fifth inning was more than enough support for North Vermilion pitcher Brittany LeBlanc. The sophomore hurler surrendered just three hits in the final three innings to earn the victory. Overall, she scattered seven hits, walked none and struck out four in seven innings..

“Brittany has been doing that all year,” said Prejean of his pitcher’s performance. “She’s not a real big strikeout pitcher. She has a good offspeed pitch and we mix it up. We just really try and keep people off balance and that’s been the name of her game since day one.”

Hannah Godeaux suffered the loss for the Lady Pios, giving up seven runs (one earned) on three hits and one walk. She struck out four in four and one third innings.

Taylor Simon paced the Lady Pios seven-hit attack with two singles while Godeaux had one hit and the Lady Pios lone RBI. LeBlanc had a triple while Hillary Stelly, Amelia Lavergne and Alex Boulet each singled.

Vincent was 2-for-3 with a double and a RBI for the Lady Patriots while Gaspard had a double and two RBI. Duhon doubled and drove in a run and Stephanie Picard had a double.

North Vermilion will now play host to Parkview Baptist for the right to advance to the Fast Pitch 56 tournament that begins May 1 at Sulphur’s Frash Park.

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