Late rally falls short for Lady Pios

Kaplan’s Toiya Ragas (7) slides into home ahead of the tag from Notre Dame’s Mollie Stelly during the Lady Pirates’ 8-6 victory over the Lady Pios Thursday at Hensgens Field. Kaplan captured the District 6-3A title with the victory. (Photo by Jason Faul)

CROWLEY – Ever have one of those days where nothing seems to go your way?
The Notre Dame Lady Pios have and unfortunately, it occurred at the worst possible time.
With the District 6-3A title on the line, the Lady Pios committed four errors that led to seven unearned runs, issued 11 free passes (seven walks, four hit batters) and dropped an 8-6 decision to Kaplan Thursday at Hensgens Field.
“You just can’t give a good team breaks, that’s what it comes down to. Whether it’s this team or any good team down the road, you can’t give them any breaks,” said Notre Dame coach Dusty Collete, whose team fell to 18-4 on the season and finished league play with a mark of 8-2. “We put ourselves in a hole early and we made a few bad decisions. We tried going inside on a couple of their hitters and we put them on base. At one point, they had three runs on two hits.”
The breaks for the Lady Pios were few and far between, especially early on.
Collette’s squad stranded seven runners, all in scoring position and four with less than two outs, during the course of the game.
“Early on, we had a couple of good hits, but we just couldn’t string anything together,” said Collette, whose team had just five hits after five innings. “We made a few miscues early on and I think that carried over to the offensive side. Once you start hanging your head, you start digging yourself a hole.”
The Lady Pios actually got on the board first when Grace Doucet singled to right field to lead off the second inning. She moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Brittney Nolan and scored one batter later when Zoie Lavergne doubled to the left center field gap.
Kaplan, however, answered in the top of the third.
Abby Trahan reached base on a hard hit ball to the mound that was mishandled to spark the rally. A wild pitch moved Trahan to second base and a sacrifice bunt by Megan Hebert got her to third before she scored on a wild pitch. Olivia Gabor, who walked, moved to second on the wild pitch, stole third and then scored on an errant throw to give the Lady Pirates a 2-1 advantage.
The Lady Pios had an opportunity to tie the score following a leadoff triple in the bottom of the frame by Elise LeBeouf. Kaplan hurler Abby Trahan, however, got out of the potential jam by getting back-to-back flyouts to the infield before ending the threat with a strikeout.
Another error on a flyball between the mound and third base in the fourth inning sparked another big inning for the Lady Pirates.
Caroline Touchet led off the inning with a double to left field and moved to third base on a sacrifice bunt by Kailey LeJeune. Lexi Breaux’s fly to the infield, which would have been the second out of the inning, was misplayed, giving Kaplan runners at the corners. Touchet then flew out to first base, but a walk to Trahan loaded the bases. Hebert was then hit by a pitch to drive in the first run of the frame before Gabor singled to center field to plate two more runs and give the Lady Pirates a 5-1 cushion.
The Lady Pirates added to their lead one inning later when Lindsey Schexnailder was hit by a pitch and Caroline Touchet walked to start the frame. Then, following back-to-back strikeouts, Lauren Touchet singled in a run with a shot to left field. Trahan followed with a fly ball to right field that was misplayed, allowing two more Lady Pirates to cross the plate.
That was the extent of Kaplan’s offense, and it was all that was needed.
The Lady Pirates logged just four hits off Notre Dame starting pitcher Mollie Stelly. The Baton Rouge Community College signee walked four and hit four batters before being lifted for Lavergne in the top of the sixth.
“Mollie has been battling a knee injury all year and today it really affected her,” said Collette of Stelly, who was obviously in pain throughout the contest. “It was tough for her because you could see that she wasn’t coming through with her pitches. It took a lot off her velocity and it limited her other pitches. She was battling through it, but we had to make a change because we weren’t being real effective.
“You just can’t give them bases. With our defense, you have to make them earn it. We have to make teams beat us but we just kept giving them opportunities.”
Lavergne worked the final two frames  and gave up one hit while walking three and striking out one.
Offensively, the Lady Pios were finally able to string a few hits together in the last two innings and actually had a chance to tie the game.
In the sixth, the Lady Pios cut the lead to 8-3 on an error and an RBI double by Laverne before logging five of their 13 hits off Trahan in the seventh. Mima Doucet, Grace Doucet and Nolan each recorded RBI singles in the frame.
The Lady Pios had runners at second and third with two outs before a flyout to Lauren Touchet in left field sealed their fate.
Gabor and Lauren Touchet each had a single and an RBI to lead the Lady Pirates while Caroline Touchet added a double. Trahan and Breaux rounded out Kaplan’s offense with a single each.
Grace Doucet and LeBeouf paced the Lady Pios at the plate as the duo combined for seven hits. Doucet had four hits and one RBI while LeBeouf had a single and two triples.
Lavergne added a pair of doubles and two RBI while Mima Doucet had two singles and an RBI. Nolan singled and drove in one run and Alli Daigle had a single.

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