Five Ascension Parish softball players and a coach have been selected to compete in the 2016 LHSCA/LSCA All-Star game to be held at Louisiana College in Pineville on May 20-21.

For the East Team, Dutchtown senior pitcher Ali McCoy made the squad, along with East Ascension Spartans senior shortstop Claire Weinberger and senior pitcher Jessie Watts. St. Amant senior Kourtney Gremillion rounded out the Ascension contingent on the East squad. Senior Rae’Shaun Malancon from the Ascension Catholic Bulldogs was selected for the West squad.

Selected as head coach for the East Squad is the 10-year head coach from the Dutchtown Griffins, Nancy Ensminger.

“It’s definitely an honor to be selected by my fellow colleagues,” Ensminger said of the selection. “According to the rules for being selected…You must have played in the State Championship Game the previous season. So I have to give credit to my team from last season with this honor. I wouldn’t be having this interview if not for them.”

Coaching time will be limited as the only opportunity for the team to practice together will be on the Friday before the game. But Ensminger is pretty upbeat about the team’s possibilities. “Personally, I’m going to enjoy putting together this much talent on the field with the goal of winning for the East squad.”

The four athletes on the East team will be a big help to Ensminger as she gets to coach one of her players and has extensive knowledge of the other three athletes’ abilities as well. “All these girls bring tons of talent and winning experience to the East team. They all play a huge role at their respective high schools. Each one of these young ladies are standouts offensively and defensively and by far some of the best coming out of Ascension Parish.”

EA boys lose, girls win

The East Ascension Spartans baseball team faced the Catholic High Bears in their district 5-5A opener on March 31. Unfortunately for the Spartans, four errors cost them the victory as the Bears took advantage of the miscues to break open a close game to garner an 8-1 victory over the Spartans at EAHS’ Johnny Ambeau Park. The loss for the Spartans gave the Bears (18-4, 1-0), their 13th straight win.

The pitching of Brady Hebert (4-0) was pretty impressive. Hebert was able to scatter four hits while striking out five in six innings of pitching. Tyler Suire retired the Spartans in order in the bottom of the seventh to close out the game.

Spartan pitcher Austin McInnis (4-2) gave up five hits and struck out six in his five innings on the mound. EA was plagued with errors for three straight innings. Ryan Williams was 2-for-3 at the plate for the Spartans. East Ascension scored its only run in the bottom half of the fifth inning. Noah Fontenot singled and later scored on a ground out by Reese Hebert.

In the girls game, the Spartans’ Brea Aikens hadn’t seen any action on the field for the past month as she was working herself back from an ankle injury that took her off the field. Aikens entered the game as pinch-hitter in the fifth inning saw her first pitches for the first time since her injury.

Aikens took an Ali McCoy outside pitch and shot a line drive off the top of Dutchtown first baseman Leah Spears’ glove into right field. The hit paid off in a two-run double that gave the Spartans just what they needed for a 6-3 victory on Thursday.

East Ascension made up for a 6-4 loss two weeks ago at the hands of the Griffins. The win by the Spartans allowed St. Amant to clinch the District 5-5A championship.

The Lady Spartans’ only managed four hits against Ali McCoy, a Southeastern Louisiana University signee, but they also took advantage of 10 walks and four wild pitches.

EA shortstop and LSU signee Claire Weinberger went 2-for-3 with one RBI and a stolen base.

The Lady Spartans didn’t have to play from behind as in the last game against the Griffins. EA loaded the bases in the first two innings and took a 3-0 lead as McCoy issued a bases-loaded walk to Taja Landry and then threw a wild pitch that scored Verlencia Jackson in the first inning.

Dutchtown loaded the bases with no outs in the top of seventh and scored on McCoy’s RBI-groundout when EA’s winning pitcher Jessie Watts responded with three straight outs, including her first strikeout of the game.

Three parish bowlers advance in state singles competition

The St. Amant Gators lost to Catholic High bowlers last week, so none of our parish teams will advance into the semifinals of the state competition. But three of our athletes will be advancing in the singles competition. In the girl’s bracket, Averi Laughlin, of Dutchtown, finished in second place with an average of 225.50 and will be bowling in the semifinals.

In boys’ singles, Jack Douglas, of St. Amant, finished on top with a 230.50 average. The East Ascension Spartans’ Dillan Moran was third at 212.50 and Dutchtown’s Trey Kauffman was fifth at 208.

Is it time for a record?

The Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association is the official curator of the Louisiana State Fishing Records. Records are kept for the top 10 fish in each approved category (fresh and saltwater) for rod and reel, fly rod and ponds.

Thirty-four new state records that included eight new first-place entries were added to the books in 2015 so lots of folks get recognized for their angling prowess. Things slow down to a crawl in the winter months but it is springtime, so applications are coming in again.

The first approved application in the rod and reel division is a 3.31-pound white crappie (sac a lait) that was caught by Zach Broussard on Jan. 31 in Lake Martin in north Louisiana. There are two more white crappie, an African Pompano and a White Drum awaiting approval.

For all of you folks that fish on a regular basis, the chances that you’ve thrown back a fish that would qualify for a state record are pretty good. So if you fish on a regular basis, familiarizing yourself with the state records would be a good thing to do. The website is www.laoutdoorwriters.com and click on the records tab.

All of the applications are there as well. Taking a look at them is a good thing as well. Sixty days is allowed for a record application to be submitted after the fish is caught. So time is not an issue in that area but visual identification must be made by a qualified biologist and weighed on a state-certified scale. Being prepared ahead of time would help out a lot.

Some of the species categories are available in our local area. Channel catfish only has five of the 10 spots currently filled and the No. 5 ranking is only 1.46 pounds. Just about every catfishing trip that’s taken around here, channel catfish are caught that could make the record book.

In the fly fishing category, only two spotted (Kentucky) bass are entered so there are eight spots open in that category. In the bluegill category there is only one entry so nine places are open. That one would be pretty easy to get an entry in to get an angler’s name in the record book. How many state records have you thrown back or eaten?

Lyle Johnson covers sports for The Ascension Advocate. He can be contacted at reelman@eatel.net or ascension@theadvocate.com.