Notre Dame Lady Pios down Avoyelles in regional playoff tilt

CROWLEY – The Notre Dame Lady Pios’ softball team is headed back to a familiar place this week – the Fast Pitch 56 State Tournament in Sulphur.

Getting there, however, involved a little drama and one big-inning explosion.

The Lady Pios sent 11 batters to the plate in the second inning to score all of their runs in defeating No. 11-seeded Avoyelles, 6-3, Thursday.

The victory sends the Lady Pios to the Fast Pitch 56 State Tournament where they will take on No. 3 seed Buckeye on Friday at 2 p.m. at Frasch Park .

“It wasn’t the prettiest of games, but a win is a win,” said ND coach Lauren Delahoussaye, whose team improved to 23-9 with the victory. “We hit the ball well at times, we made the plays that we needed to make and we scored just enough to get the W.”

Notre Dame’s big second inning started with back-to-back base hits by Mira LaVergne and Taylor Satchell. Three errors followed, allowing the Lady Pios to plate their six runs.

“We stayed pretty disciplined at the plate in the second inning,” said Delahoussaye. “We didn’t get fooled too much at the plate and we put the pressure on them to make the plays. They made a few mistakes, the ball found eyes, luckily for us, and it got us just enough to get by.”

With the bases loaded and one out, Elise LeBeouf’s grounder to third started the scoring frenzy.

Avoyelles third baseman Laura Lemoine fired a bullet to the plate in an attempt to cut down the lead runner, but her throw was off the mark and got to the backstop, allowing pinch runner Kodie Credeur to score. Satchell also scored on the play.

“We try to be smart with our base running and we try to take the extra base when we can,” said Delahoussaye. “Right there, we saw the opportunity and Taylor (Satchell) never hesitated.”

Taylor Boulet followed with an infield single to load the bases again and Allie Daigle then drew a bases-loaded walk that plated Mollie Stelly, who had reached on an error, to give Notre Dame a 3-0 advantage.

But the Lady Pios weren’t done just yet.

Alexa Thibodeaux’s groundout to second base plated LeBeouf and an infield single by Katherine Kirsh allowed Boulet to score.

Avoyelles committed its fourth error of the inning on LaVergne’s grounder to shortstop that allowed Daigle to score the sixth and final run.

“We had couple of miscues there in the second inning and just made it real tough on ourselves,” said Avoyelles coach Jessica Provost. “It’s just hard to overcome a six-run deficit.”

The Lady Pios weren’t immune from errors either and they suffered by it in the top of the third inning.

Avoyelles had two runners reach base to start the top of the third inning and an errant throw on a grounder to third base allowed both of them to score.

“That’s always something that we don’t like to see, obviously,” said Delahoussaye of the third inning miscue. “We like to play errorless ball if possible, but it’s not always going to happen. But we settled in after that.”

ND hurler Mollie Stelly held Avoyelles in check through the sixth, allowing just one hit during that time.

But there was no quit in Avoyelles.

The Lady Mustangs started the seventh with a leadoff double by Angel Bordelon and they cut the lead to 6-3 when she eventually scored on a wild pitch.

The rally was short lived, however.

Rachal, who singled, was erased on a base-running mistake before Stelly got Kadyn Gauthier to fly out to second base for the second out. She then struck out Karli McCaleb to end the game.

“Mollie did a great job tonight,” said Delahoussaye of Stelly, who limited Avoyelles to three runs on four hits and one walk while striking out five. “She moved the ball around and hit her spots.”

Notre Dame had nine hits on the day off Avoyelles hurler Brittany Daigrepont, a recent LSU-Eunice signee.

“We knew she was a great pitcher and we worked hard all week on focusing on pitches that we know how to hit,” said Delahoussaye.

Kirsch and Boulet led the Lady Pios’ offensive charge with two hits each. Thibodeaux, LaVergne, Satchell, Lebeouf and Hillary Stelly each had one hit.

“Reaching the state tournament is always a goal and it feels great to get there, but right now, I’m just looking forward to four great days of practice,” said Delahoussaye. “We just want to continue to improve and prepare for the quarterfinals.”

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