CCHS defeats Hanson in key district game

The groundout and the pop-up were Central Catholic pitcher Megan Landry’s friends on Tuesday night as the CCHS pitcher utilized both to get out of jams, and the Lady Eagles’ escaped with a 3-1 win against Hanson in a battle of District 8-1A’s top teams on Tuesday in Bayou Vista.

Landry and the Lady Eagles escaped no more than a one-run, sixth-inning threat by Hanson, who had placed runners on second and third base, when she picked up a line drive she couldn’t catch and tossed it to catcher Elizabeth Garber for the third out of the inning.

The seventh was much the same as Landry nullified any threat from a two-out triple by Hanson’s Katie Sonnier when she forced the next batter, Lexi Coleman, to fly out to her to end the game and give CCHS the upper hand in the battle of the district’s top squads.

Both teams entered the game with 2-0 marks in league play, but with the win, the Lady Eagles now are in sole possession of first-place with a 3-1 mark.

The win also was CCHS’ first against Hanson in years, CCHS assistant coach David Irwin said, although he couldn’t remember exactly how many.

Although they were even more noticeable in pressure-packed situations, Landry forced plenty of pop-ups and groundouts sandwiched around five strikeouts in the win.

The freshman standout turned the Tigers away in order in four innings and faced just one batter over the minimum in two other innings.

“Megan (had) another stellar performance,” CCHS coach Joe Russo said. “She puts the ball in play to get those pop-ups. She does her job but we just complemented the whole team because when she does do her job and we have a defense behind it, that just gives her more confidence.”

Offensively, the Lady Eagles scored their three runs in the third inning as the homestanding squad benefited from two Hanson errors.

With one out, Abbie Bergeron reached first on a hit.

Hanson third baseman Kim Sonnier then committed an error on a ball put into play by Brittany Longman. Longman was safe at first base and when the Lady Tigers unsuccessfully tried to tag out Bergeron at third base on the play, Longman advanced to second.

Bergeron scored one batter later when Hanson pitcher Evelyn Pontiff couldn’t handle a dribbler by Landry back to the mound.

Pontiff then walked CCHS’ Caroline Byrne to load the bases before issuing a free pass to Celine Flores to bring in Longman.

The Lady Eagles added one more run when the next batter, Hailee Thomas, launched a sacrifice fly to centerfield that allowed Landry to score for a 3-0 CCHS lead.

The score remained the same until Hanson pushed across its first run in the top of the sixth when Brittney Broussard launched a one-out, RBI-triple to right field to score Coleman, who had reached base on a single.

Morgan Baudoin then recorded a bunt single and Landry walked Kim Sonnier to load the bases.

However, like she had all game, Landry got out of the threat as she struck out Mallory Chiasson and threw Broussard out at the plate after Paige Diamond had hit a line drive back to Landry that Landry couldn’t snare for a catch.

“Well, we waited too late to start hitting the ball,” Hanson head coach Theresa Lombardo said. “(But) a credit to him, (CCHS) put the ball in play and made us make the play.”

Despite the victory, Russo noted that his squad left nine runners on base, including six in scoring position. The Lady Eagles left the bases loaded in the third and fifth innings.

“We had opportunities to score a lot more runs,” Russo said. “We didn’t want it to be 3-1. We just couldn’t get the timely hit. But I have to give Hanson credit because some of those hits (by CCHS) were shots, and they made plays on us. I definitely can understand why they’re ranked high in the power ratings. That’s a good ball club.”

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