CCHS falls in Class 1A semifinals
Ascension Catholic pitcher Julia Beck releases a pitch to Kaitlyn Gros during her at bat in the bottom of the seventh inning, while Gee Garrett leaves second base during Saturday’s Class 1A state semifinal in Frasch Park in Sulphur. Beck held the Lady Eagles at bay, limiting them to one hit and fanning 12 in a 5-0 win. (The Daily Review/Geoff Stoute)
Central Catholic coach Joe Russo walks back to the dugout with a broken bat after the Lady Eagles’ Brooke Lipari snapped it while making contact with a pitch during Saturday’s game. (The Daily Review/Geoff Stoute)
Central Catholic Lady Eagles’ Paige Thomas, left, and Hallie Autin greet the umpires before the Lady Eagles’ semifinal contest against Ascension Catholic Saturday at Frasch Park in Sulphur. (The Daily Review/Geoff Stoute)
Many times this year, the Central Catholic Lady Eagles watched as pitcher Megan Landry baffled opposing hitters en route to Central Catholic victories.
While Landry had a good performance in No. 2 Central Catholic’s Class 1A semifinal contest against No. 3 Ascension Catholic Saturday morning, Ascension Catholic’s Julia Beck was better.
Beck shutout the Lady Eagles, limiting them to one hit and fanning 12 as Ascension Catholic eliminated Central Catholic, 5-0 at the state tournament at Frasch Park.
“I’m so proud of her right now,” Ascension Catholic coach Brandi Hahn said. “In this setting, she came back from last year and she performed, she excelled and she overcame.”
While Beck limited the Lady Eagles to a seventh-inning infield single by Gee Garrett, she also helped her cause at the plate, staking the Lady Bulldogs to a 3-0 lead early with a two-out, bases-loaded double to the left field wall in the top of the first inning.
After their first-inning scoring outburst, Landry, who surrendered eight hits but struck out 11 in the game, settled in, keeping the Lady Bulldogs off the scoreboard for the next four innings.
Meanwhile, the Lady Eagles (27-4) could get hardly anything going. The Lady Eagles got on base in the second inning with a one-out walk and in the fifth inning via a one-out walk, but Beck got out of the second with a strikeout of Brooke Lipari and in the fifth after a strikeout for Paige Thomas and forcing Hallie Autin to pop out to shortstop.
“The kid was outstanding today,” Central Catholic coach Joe Russo said of Beck. “In my opinion that was the best ball club we faced all year. They did a great job. Everything we hit, they made plays on. We couldn’t get a break offensively.”
Ascension Catholic added another run in the top of the sixth inning when Bailey Amadee, who finished 2-for-4, crushed a home run over the left field fence.
The Bulldogs added another run in the top of the seventh inning when Aimee Prejeant, who had reached on an error by Central Catholic shortstop Kimberly Russo, came around to score on another error by Russo.
The Lady Eagles had their best threat in the bottom of the seventh inning when Garrett connected on a one-out infield single and advanced to second base on Maggie Blanchard’s errant throw to first base on the play.
Beck then walked Kaitlyn Gros before responded with consecutive strikeouts of Lipari and pinch hitter Brandy Landry to end the game.
The loss snapped a 14-game winning streak for the Lady Eagles, who last lost March 22 to Kaplan in Catholic High-New Iberia’s tournament.
“Statistically, we had that against us,” Russo said. “It’s got to come sooner or later, but it is what it is and we’re going to learn from this and hopefully we’ll be back next year.”
In Saturday’s win, Beck surrendered one hit, walked three and fanned 12.
In the loss, Landry surrendered five runs on eight hits with one walk and struck out 11.
“Defensively, Megan was Megan,” Russo said. “She had 11 strikeouts. I just think we were not at our game offensively and I think that’s what got us today.”
Ascension Catholic advanced to the Class 1A semifinals after rallying to defeat No. 11 Hanson Memorial 6-5 Friday.
The Lady Bulldogs (25-7) fell in the championship game later Saturday as they were upset by No. 12 seed Cedar Creek, 6-0. Cedar Creek advanced to the finals after pulling off consecutive upsets, topping No. 4 seed Mangham, 3-2 Friday and No. 1 seed Catholic-Pointe Coupee 7-4 earlier Saturday.
Saturday’s game was the final one for the Lady Eagles’ three seniors, Garrett, Kimberly Russo and Elizabeth Garber, who coach Russo said here good kids who worked hard.
“Hopefully they learned some softball life lessons that they can carry with them to college and wherever else they go,” he said.