Cushioned with a four-run lead, Mount Carmel’s softball team withstood a Chappelle rally to take a 6-4 win in a District 9-5A opener at Muss Bertolino field Tuesday.
Right-hander Amanda Lannella surrendered six hits and three earned runs while hurling six innings for the Cubs (10-2), who inched ahead in the first inning and never trailed.
Her counterpart Samantha Mracich allowed six runs in a complete game.
“Couple of defensive plays that we slipped up on, but we made some really good plays to get us out of some jams,” Mount Carmel coach Jake Pierron said.
“They had runners in scoring positions, but we threw them out at the plate or tagged runners trying to advance. We ended a couple of rundowns and brought Shelby (Wickersham) in to close it out.”
Caleigh Foto’s RBI single positioned the Cubs ahead early, but the third inning sprung them.
The Cubs loaded the bases before drawing a walk that doubled the lead. A Sam Dores fielder’s choice and a Foto hit scored two more runs and padded it to 4-0.
“That was a huge swing for us,” Pierron said. “They made a couple of miscues on defense, and we capitalized. We hit the ball well, and before you knew it, we had a sizeable lead.”
Chapelle (3-6) chiseled away in their half of the third. Kelsey Conley belted a ball down the third baseline, driving in one of two third-inning runs for the Chipmunks. The other came via a blooper to shallow right field from Sarah Ledet that brought Chapelle within 4-2.
Lannella forced a grounder to cap the two-out rally.
“Pressure makes me better,” she said. “I think I thrive in those situations and become a much better pitcher.”
She certainly remained calm in the fifth, when the Chipmunks threatened with runners in scoring position with one out and down 6-3 after Rachel Ledet registered an RBI single.
Chapelle popped a ball to shallow center for the second out. Center fielder Savanna Orgeron muscled a ball to home plate, throwing out a Mount Carmel running attempting to tag up. Inning over.
“Mandy has been our starter since last year. She has experience pitching in those situations and she brought us to Sulphur, so we’re confident in her ability to pitch,” Pierron said of his decision to keep Lanella on the mound in the inning.
“She hit her spots pretty well. Shelby warmed up, and we wouldn’t have let it get out of hand, but Mandy handled it.”
Wickersham registered the save as she scooped a dribbler at her feet and tossed it to first base for the final out.
“We did a good job fighting back. We have the potential to be competitive and win some ballgames,” Chipmunks coach Stacey Conley said. “Tonight, we just fell a bit short out there. It didn’t fall in our favor.”