SULPHUR — North Vermilion outslugged Parkview Baptist on Friday to earn a spot in the Class 3A softball state semifinals.
No. 5 North Vermilion raced to an early 8-0 lead and held on for 11-9 win over No. 4 Parkview Baptist at the Fast Pitch 56 at Frasch Park. North Vermilion will face defending state champion John Curtis in the semifinals at 1 p.m. Saturday.
“I actually expected it to be a lot of runs but not that many,” North Vermilion coach Joy LeBlanc said. “They can hit. We can hit. I knew it was going to be a battle at the plate.”
North Vermilion (25-5) got things rolling in the first inning with five runs on five hits. The Patriots batted through the lineup. That scoring frenzy carried over to the second inning as the Patriots added three runs. Headed to the bottom of the inning, North Vermilion appeared to be on its way to a possible mercy-rule victory.
In the bottom of the inning, Parkview Baptist (26-9) scored five runs on four hits, a walk and an error.
North Vermilion added three runs in the top of the fifth, but Parkview Baptist scored two in the bottom of the sixth and then two more in the top of the seventh. With two outs and a runner on first, North Vermilion pitcher Hannah Vidallier managed to get Lexie Dautel to fly out to center field to end the game.
“We always have one bad inning,” LeBlanc said. “We made mistakes and gave them runs, but we got lucky because we were hitting so well today.”
John Curtis 7, Notre Dame 3: Behind a five-run sixth inning, No. 1 seed John Curtis defeated No. 9 Notre Dame for the second straight season at the Fast Pitch 56.
In last year’s Class 3A semifinals, the Patriots beat the Pioneers 8-1 on way to claiming the state crown.
Notre Dame (16-6) took advantage of multiple illegal pitches by John Curtis pitcher Payton Pigniolo, who was eventually ejected from the game.
In the second inning, Notre Dame’s Brittney Nolan walked and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Nolan reached third and later scored after a pair of illegal pitches. The Pioneers added their 1-0 lead in the third as Mima Doucet led off with a double and scored on a sacrifice fly by Taylor Satchell.
John Curtis (25-3) tied it at two in the bottom of third on a pair of errors. After Notre Dame retook the lead, at 3-2, with a run in the top of the fifth, the defending state champs took the lead for good with five runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Toni Hebert picked up the win in relief, and Marcella Gossen took the loss.
“We had a couple of opportunities early in the game that kind of gave (the Patriots) some runs that hurt us,” Notre Dame coach Ashley Ray said. “Whenever they string those big hits together, it maybe doesn’t hurt us quite so bad if we don’t give them the ones off the errors. But, it is what it is.”
Northside Christian 3, Plainview 1: Northside Christian scored a pair of runs late to move on to the Class C semifinals.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, No. 3 Northside Christian (21-2) got to Plainview starting pitcher Maddison Pipper. The Warriors started with a leadoff single by Meghan Jones. She advance second and third on a passed ball and a wild pitch. Zoie Hanagriff’s double scored Jones, and Hanagriff scored, after stealing third base, on a sacrifice bunt by Sydni Guidry.
“Their pitcher was very good,” Northside Christian coach Ryan Hanagriff said. “We knew she had a good changeup, and we knew she had good pitches. She did a great job of keeping us off balanced and putting us away early in the game, but as the game went on, we were starting to find her pitches.”
Plainview had a chance in the top of the seventh as Shy Thompson walked and stole second base. Northside Christian’s Madi Clement responded by striking out the next two batters before getting Aryn Johnson to ground out. Clement picked up the win after giving up one run on five hits while striking out four.
Northside Christian will now face St. Joseph’s of Plaucheville in the semifinals at 11 a.m. Saturday.