ARNAUDVILLE — A strong pitching performance by Bryley Rodriguez and some timely late-inning hitting, lifted Beau Chene to a 2-0 softball victory over Rayne on Thursday night.
Rodriguez recorded the shutout by giving up only two hits, walking four batters and striking out eight. With the victory, the sophomore improved to 6-7.
“Bryley did a fantastic job,” Beau Chene coach Thad Dickey said. “She is not an overpowering pitcher, but her ball has great movement on nearly every pitch.”
“During warm-ups, I wasn’t pitching well,” said Rodriguez, who went 21-7 in 2014.
“I took a break and just thought to myself that I needed to get it together. I just zoned in on each pitch and took it one pitch at a time.”
For the majority of the game, it was a pitcher’s duel between Rodriguez and Rayne’s Kelcie Bourgeouis. Through five innings, the two aces held both teams to a combined four hits and surrendered only one extra-base hit, a double by Bourgeouis in the top of the third.
Beau Chene (9-7, 5-0 District 4-4A) broke through in the bottom of the sixth. With one out, Victoria Burns reached base with a soft single over second base. Burns then stole second base and scored after Lindsey Charles blasted a shot to deep center field.
Charles, though, tried to stretch her double into a triple and was thrown out. Even with two outs, the Gators weren’t done scoring. Lauren Manuel hit a single and then reached second on a pass ball. Katelyn Hukins drove in Manuel with a double.
“Every game we play with Rayne is tight,” Dickey said. “I told the girls beforehand that we were going to win 1-0 in seven innings.
“It just wounded up being 2-0.”
Rayne (9-3, 1-1) tried to mount a rally in the top of the seventh as Blaire Bergeron led off with a single, but Rodriguez got the next three batters to fly out to end the game.
Despite pitching well for most of the game, Bourgeouis got the loss.
She gave up two runs on six hits with two walks and one strikeout.
“We were not very disciplined tonight,” Rayne second-year coach Natalie Travasos said. “She wasn’t throwing a lot of strikes. I thought we were chasing pitches tonight.”
Both teams will be playing this weekend in the Sulphur Tournament as Beau Chene continues its already tough nondistrict slate. Beau Chene has already faced Live Oak, Denham Springs, Zachary and John Curtis. Beau Chene still has St. Amant, North DeSoto and John Curtis again.
For Dickey, who has guided the Gators to the Fast Pitch 56 twice in 17 seasons, the more daunting nondistrict schedule is designed to help his program make a deep playoff run.
Beau Chene won 20-plus games in 2014 but was upset in the opening round of the playoffs.
“This season isn’t about wins and losses,” Dickey said. “It is about getting better towards the end of the season.
“We peaked early last year, and it costs us. I told the girls that we’re going to have a humbling season this year.”