ARNAUDVILLE — For the first time in six years, the Beau Chene softball team has gotten out of the first round of the state playoffs.
No. 14 Beau Chene edged No. 19 Ellender 2-1 on Tuesday in the opening round of the Class 4A bracket. It is the first victory since Beau Chene beat Tioga 2-0 in 2009’s first round. Beau Chene will now face No. 3 West Ouachita in the regional round.
“Getting the monkey off our back is great,” Beau Chene coach Thad Dickey said. “It is great win because now there only 16 teams moving on and we are one of them. We are going to enjoy this tonight and get back to work tomorrow.”
“It feels great,” right fielder Adalyn Deville said. “We get to pack our bags and travel this week.”
Beau Chene (20-9) had trouble early putting runners on base.
Ellender’s Alyssa Bush retired the first seven batters she faced, including five strikeouts. With one out in the third, Bush hit Jordan Castille and Bryley Rodriquez laid down a sacrifice bunt but safely reached first base on a throwing error.
With two runners on, Deville broke up Bush’s no-hitter with a double into left field that scored both runners.
“I was getting frustrated because I swung at a high pitch,” Deville said. “I knew that I had to make up for that, especially with my strikeout in the first inning.”
Beau Chene appeared ready to score again in the fourth after Katelyn Hukins led off with a double to deep left-center field. A sacrifice bunt by Lauren Manuel put Hukins only 60 feet from scoring, but Bush got the next two Gators out with a strikeout and a fly out.
Ellender (13-16) got on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth as Morgan Pitre led off with a single. After a stolen base put her on second, Pitre advanced to third on a groundout and scored on a groundout by Bush.
Rodriguez, a sophomore, earned her first playoff win by giving up one run on two hits with five strikeouts and three walks.
“She is still a young pitcher,” Dickey said. “She knows that she didn’t have her best stuff, but she got the win.”
Ellender’s Kaitlyn Moore led off the seventh with a towering shot to center field, which resulted into a standup triple for the Patriots. Rodriguez bounced back by striking out the next batter and then came the play that ended the game.
Annie Robinson laid down a bunt that rolled right to Beau Chene third baseman Lindsey Charles, who checked Moore at third, before throwing to first base for the ground out. Manuel quickly turned to home and threw the ball to Castille who tagged Moore for the final out.
“I saw the bunt and knew the throw would be coming,” Manuel said. “I wasn’t worried. As soon as I got the ball I came up firing to Jordan.”
A victory against West Ouachita later this week would propel Beau Chene into the Fast Pitch 56 state tournament for the first time since 2007.