Lady Pios knock off Buckeye in quarterfinals
The Lady Pioneers prepare to celebrate with Elise LeBeouf after her solo home run in the bottom of the third inning during quarterfinal action at Frasch Park. Notre Dame defeated Buckeye 8-2 Friday afternoon. (Photo by Jason Faul)
SULPHUR - If there were any lingering effects of Mollie Stelly’s knee injury, it definitely didn’t show Friday in the Notre Dame Lady Pios’ Class 3A quarterfinal contest against No. 5 seeded Buckeye at Frasch Park.
Stelly, a senior, limited the Lady Panthers’ normally-potent offense to just four hits and two runs as the Lady Pios cruised into Saturday’s semifinals with an 8-2 victory.
“Mollie did a great job today,” said ND coach Dusty Collette of Stelly, who wore a knee brace to help stabilize a pulled tendon in her left leg. “She kept battling and to hold them (Buckeye) to just two runs was huge. They have a very good lineup and Mollie, along with our defense, was able to get it done.”
Stelly, who walked three batters and hit two while striking out three, was backed by a defense that played pretty much error free on the day.
The Lady Pios’ offense was just as impressive. They banged out nine hits off All-State pitcher Mikayla Brown with four of those knocks going for extra bases.
Zoie Lavergne had two hits, including a double, and two RBI. Elise LeBeouf and Brittney Nolan had two hits each as well. LeBeouf also had a home run and one RBI while Lavergne had a triple.
“Across the board, we did a great job at the plate today,” said Collette. “Even when we made outs, we hit the ball hard. And when we got runners in scoring position, we responded with either a hit or a sacrifice fly.”
Alli Daigle contributed at the plate with a run-scoring triple; Stelly had a single and an RBI and Harley Bellard, Taylor Satchell and Mima Doucet each recorded a sacrifice fly.
That offensive explosion, however, didn’t surprise Collette.
“We hit the ball the way that I knew we were capable of,” said Collette. “We’ve had some ups and downs at the plate, but we knew that we were better than that.
“We had smart at-bats today; we didn’t swing at trash and we just drove the ball. We didn’t have any little dinkers; we hit the ball hard every time and that’s what you have to do, especially against good teams like this.”
The Ladies Pios got on the board first in the bottom of the opening frame when LeBeouf singled and scored all the way from second base on a sacrifice fly to deep center field by Taylor Satchell.
LeBeouf added to the lead two innings later with a solo home run to right center field.
Buckeye answered with its first run in the top of the fourth when Paris Hernandez doubled to start the frame and eventually scored when Kennedy Lampert, courtesy running for catcher Shae Schrekengost, who singled, was caught in a rundown on a steal attempt.
The Lady Pios widened the gap in the fourth inning when Lavergne and Stelly each drove in a run to push the lead to 4-2.
The Lady Panthers pushed across their final run of the game in the top of the fifth when Brown delivered a solo-home run to left field to start the frame, trimming the lead to 4-2.
It was all Lady Pios from there.
Daigle came through with an RBI triple in the bottom of the fifth before scoring herself on a sacrifice fly from Doucet. Lavergne added another RBI in the sixth on a single and Bellard produced a sacrifice fly to account for the final run of the game.
Stelly silenced the Lady Panthers over the final two frames by allowing just one base runner on a walk.
The Panthers were led by Brown with a home run and Hernandez with a double. Schrekengost and Taylor Campbell each had a single in the loss.