CECILIA — In past seasons, the Cecilia softball team would have caved under the pressure.
Taking the field against a perennial state powerhouse like St. Thomas More would have intimidated Cecilia. The name on the opponent’s jersey would have made the Bulldogs nervous and had them seriously doubting themselves, thus giving their opponents an edge even before the first pitch.
Then if Cecilia would have spotted STM a 3-0 lead in the first inning that would have likely sent the Bulldogs into a tailspin, one which would end in a lopsided District 5-4A defeat.
With Tuesday’s convincing 7-3 victory over two-time defending state champion STM, this year’s Cecilia softball team proved that they no longer would be intimidated by any team, regardless of what name was on the front of the jersey.
“We have a mature group,” Cecilia coach Cody Champagne said. “They always have been a great ballclub, and we have been a scrappy ball club. Our team would always get overly anxious, and it showed. I think we are finally getting over the name on the jersey and just playing softball.”
STM jumped on Cecilia starting pitcher Madison Guidry for three runs in the first inning, but the Bulldogs ace would quickly settle down. Guidry gave up five more hits, one extra base hit and zero runs in the next six innings.
“I think it maybe was just nerves,” said Guidry, who improved her season record to 6-2. “I knew our team would come back and finish what we started.”
Cecilia (9-4, 3-1 District 5-4A) got a run back in the bottom of the first. Jeannemarie Angelle drew a leadoff walk and scored two batters later as Kacey Latiolais reached first on an error. Angelle scored again in the bottom of the third after reached on an error and scoring on a pass ball.
But heading to the bottom of the fifth, Cecilia still trailed STM 3-2, but that’s when the Bulldogs finally got to Cougars starting pitcher Whitney Romero. In the first four innings, Romero had struck out seven, but the fifth was different.
Angelle led off with a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jenna Allemond. Kacey Latiolais laced a pitch deep to left field for an RBI double. Haley Godeaux then doubled, giving Cecilia runners on second and third.
Pinch hitter Allison Brasseaux struck out, and STM (6-4, 2-1) was one out away from getting out of the inning. Guidry, though, hit a two-run double and scored on a Meagan Martin double. Martin scored when the throw to third base went high.
Four of Cecilia’s five runs in the inning came with two outs.
“We really struggled with two outs,” STM coach Andria Waguespack said. “We couldn’t get that third out.”
After a scoreless sixth inning, STM tried to put something together in the top of the seventh. Bailey Hemphill led off by drawing a walk but was caught in a rundown between third and home after a base hit by Romero. The Cougars managed to put three runners on base in the final inning but failed to get a run.
“When you give them 30 outs in a game, you’re not going to win,” Waguespack said. “You can’t give them that many chances.”
Cecilia returns to action with a home contest against Northside on Thursday before playing in the Bayou Blowout Tournament in New Iberia this weekend.
Meanwhile, STM hosts St. Martinville on Thursday before playing at Notre Dame on Friday.
For the Bulldogs, Wednesday’s victory is something they want to use to build momentum.
“This is a team that we always have wanted to beat,” Guidry said. “It boosts our confidence.”