LEROY — The battle between the frontrunners for the District 6-3A softball title came down to the final inning as Kaplan squeaked by with a 4-2 road win against rival North Vermilion on Wednesday.
In the seventh inning with two outs, Kaplan pitcher Abby Trahan fielded Adele Vincent’s grounder with runners on first and third and her throw was initially ruled not in time by the first-base umpire.
But after a brief conference, the call was overturned, and Kaplan gained sole possession of first place in the district standings.
“I think we’re playing our game,” Kaplan coach Shay Herpin said. “We’re not trying to do much. It’s been like that for a couple of weeks now; even with the weather, we’re making great adjustments, doing the little things right and starting to understand that’s how we are going to win. It’s just all falling together for us.”
Kaplan (11-2, 4-0) scored in the top of the first inning on a two-out double by catcher Kailey LeJune.
Three batters later, Lexi Breaux singled to drive in another run to put Kaplan 2-0 at the end of the first.
North Vermilion (16-2, 5-1) tied it in the bottom of the second on a bloop double to left field by Kaylee Lopez.
Runs were hard to come by after that point as Trahan and North Vermilion ace and LSU-Eunice signee Hannah Vidallier held Kaplan at bay.
Kaplan’s Alexa Lege broke the tie in the fourth with a two-run double.
North Vermilion threatened the Pirates lead in the sixth. With runners in scoring position and one out, Morgan Harrington hit a line drive to shortstop Olivia Gabor that was snatched in midair and thrown back to first for a double play to get the Pirates out of the jam.
“I was really proud of how our team came out (today),” Gabor said. “We never gave up; even when they made plays, we always came back and got base hits, got runners on and everybody did their job.”
Trahan allowed seven hits with three strikeouts in her complete game. Vidallier allowed eight hits with four strikeouts.
The two teams faced off in the quarterfinals of last year’s playoffs, and North Vermilion handled Kaplan 13-4. Herpin said it was a game they never forgot, but it wasn’t the driving motivation behind the win.
“It always sticks with you when you lose in the quarterfinals, and (North Vermilion) beat us very convincingly,” Herpin said. “We didn’t harp on that all week. We just came out and said ‘lets play our game and see what happens.’ I think that’s what we did (Wednesday).”
Kaplan will be in action at home against West St. Mary on Thursday and North Vermilion will travel Thursday to participate in the St. Amant tournament.