NEW IBERIA — The Catholic High-New Iberia softball team seemingly scores runs with ease.
Before Thursday’s 6-2 win over District 5-2A opponent Westminster Christian, Catholic-NI was averaging 10 runs per game and has scored 15 or more runs seven times this season, including a season-high 21 against rival Loureauville in the team’s district opener.
That massive amount of run production comes from several players.
Entering Thursday, Catholic-NI (12-7, 6-2 in District 5-2A) had seven players batting .348 or higher, including freshman Meghan Robicheaux and Payton LeBlanc with a team-high .436 batting average. Catholic-NI has seven players with 10 RBIs or more, including Robicheaux’s team-high 20 RBIs.
That is a formidable and balanced lineup for any opposing pitcher to face.
“A lot of it has to do with the philosophy,” Catholic-NI second-year coach Mark Suire said. “We have five slappers in our lineup and sometimes six depending on whose pitching. Those girls tend to get on base a lot. When you get on base a lot, then good things can happen.”
Another key factor in the team’s success the Panthers’ aggressiveness on the base paths. They often pull off bunt-and-runs and double steals. Catholic-NI is averaging five stolen bases per game, with leadoff hitter Alyssa Anslem entering Thursday having recorded a team-high 15 stolen bases.
“I think us having so many fast people in our lineup and so many people that can put the ball in play we can get each other around the bases easily,” said Taylor Jeanlewis, who was batting .366 entering Thursday.
“We are really an aggressive team on the bases,” LeBlanc said. “It’s mostly about you can’t be scared to go. You just have to go.”
The Panthers have produced all of that offensive output despite missing all-district performer Hannah Smith. The South Alabama commitment has missed six games because of a concussion and remains day-to-day.
Suire said that injury, though, has just made the team even that much deeper.
“There are going to be games where our best players are not going to have their best games,” said Suire, who took Delcambre to a state title in 2008. “It is going to be up to someone else to pick up the slack and get the big hit or make that big play on defense. So far we have had that happen.”