SULPHUR – After getting burned twice in the same inning, and a state championship hanging in the balance, Lauren Delahoussaye tried to play it cool.
Notre Dame’s first-year head coach had just watched two of her runners get thrown out on the bases in the seventh inning of the Lady Pios’ Class AAA title game Saturday against Parkview Baptist, and, with the score tied at 11, she was determined not to let that happen again.
So when Heidi Bellard came speeding toward third on Alex Boulet’s two-out single to left, Delahoussaye decided that being aggressive one more time might not be the wisest choice and she threw up the stop sign.
There was only one problem, though: Bellard didn’t stop.
Instead, she blew right past Delahoussaye and headed for the plate, stopping momentarily before continuing toward home, where she slid past the tag of Parkview catcher Victoria Hugghins to give the Lady Pios a wild 12-11 victory and, with it, the Class AAA state softball championship.
“I was sending people like crazy the whole inning,” said Delahoussaye, who earlier had runners gunned down at the plate and third base. “I tried to hold her (Bellard) up and she wasn’t having it. I was trying to hold her up and I’m glad I made a bad decision and she made a good one.”
“Coach told us before the inning that we had to find a way to score a run,” said Bellard. “I had taken a big lead and was just waiting for Alex to get a hit. I knew I had to get home and I was just so focused on rounding the base good that I didn’t see coach holding me up until I was past her. It was too late, I had to get down and get there.”
Bellard’s split second decision would not have been possible if not for Boulet delivering in the clutch.
“That’s what I’ve been waiting for my whole high school career,” said Boulet, who finished the game with two hits, including a triple and three runs driven in. “I hadn’t hit well all tournament but I knew I could. I was ready. I wanted the hit.”
The late heroics weren’t the only highlights of the title game for Notre Dame.
The Lady Pios trailed four times in the game and found themselves down 11-7 with two outs in the sixth inning.
“We’ve been fighters all year long,” said Delahoussaye. “We’ve been put in this situation before and we just have a will to win. We call it Pio Pride.”
Parkview took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Brooklyn Guilliot walked and courtesy runner Ashley Guidry scored when Hugghins was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
The Lady Pios answered back in the bottom of the frame when Boulet reached on a leadoff error and scored on Taylor Boulet’s single to left center field.
Parkview came right back in the second inning, scoring three more runs to take a 4-1 advantage.
Again, Notre Dame responded.
The Lady Pios scored six runs in the bottom of the inning on five hits, including Alex Boulet’s two-run triple. Taylor Boulet had a two-run double and Taylor Simon singled in a run as well in the inning to give Notre Dame a 7-4 cushion.
Parkview reclaimed the lead an inning later, rallying for six runs with two outs to take a 10-7 advantage. Guilliot drove in two runs with a single and Huggins followed with a three-run home run.
The Lady Eagles added a run in the sixth to go up 11-7 and things looked bleak for the Lady Pios.
But with two outs in bottom of the inning, the game turned.
Alex Boulet and Simon triggered a dramatic rally with back-to-back RBI singles and Hannah Godeaux followed with a clutch double to left center field and suddenly, the game was tied at 11-11.
“Hannah has done that time and time again,” said Delahoussaye of Godeaux’s hit to tie the game. “She’s an all-around athlete. She’s strong and she swings like she means it. She’s mean and that’s what it takes. You can’t be a little girl, you have to be an athlete and that’s why she’s our four-hole hitter. She gets angry and she rips.”
Notre Dame touched up Parkview pitchers Brooklyn Guilliot and Rachael Hugghins for 15 hits on the night, including four doubles and one triple. Guilliot started the game for the Lady Eagles, but she left the mound in the second inning.
Taylor Boulet and Charlotte Brown paced the Lady Pios with three hits each. Boulet also had a double and three RBI.
Alex Boulet followed with two hits, including a triple and three RBI. Simon singled, doubled and drove in two runs; Caroline Stewart had two hits, including a double; Godeaux doubled and drove in two runs while Bellard and Katherine Kirsch each had one hit.