A comeback by the 10th-seeded Academy of Our Lady softball team fell short as No. 26 Bolton held on for a 6-4 win in a Class 4A regional playoff game Friday at Harvey Playground.
The Bears (14-12) advance to the quarterfinals of the state tournament, where they take on the winner of No. 2 Teurlings Catholic-No. 15 Belle Chasse.
“They’re a good hitting ballclub,” Academy of Our Lady coach Ginger Dilworth said of Bolton. “They’re not a No. 26 or whatever their seeding says. They came to play and battled.”
One out into the first inning, Academy of Our Lady (20-10) stumbled. The Penguins committed an error and then allowed a single to Jenna Drewett place two base runners before right-hander Taylor Toledano surrendered a three-run homer to Destinee Frazier, who fouled off six total pitches in the at-bat.
Toledono struck out the next batter, but hung a breaking ball over the plate that Destiny Williams crushed to center left field to make it 4-0.
The deficit, however, wouldn’t last for long. Toledano atoned in the bottom of the fourth with a two-RBI double through the infield gap, halving the Bears’ lead. Blaise Hotard followed suit. She smacked an RBI single to shallow right field to make it 4-3. In the sixth, Stephanie Nunez tied it at 4 four with two outs, scoring on a wild pitch that Bolton’s catcher couldn’t corral.
“In the last two weeks, we learned how to fight,” Dilworth said. “It didn’t surprise me that we came back. They’re not going to lay down easy. We were right there and managed to tie the ballgame, but just couldn’t get that edge.”
The right-hander, who registered seven strikeouts, allowed five hits and forced four groundouts. She struck out two Penguins to seal the victory for the Bears after a seventh-inning RBI single from Whitney Jacobs that inched Bolton ahead. The additional run came from Williams, who belted a single to center field.
Toledano matched her first-round strikeout total of eight, but surrendered eight hits and six runs, including the final two in the seventh, while walking two.
“From my perspective, we’re the best 14-12 team in the state,” Bears coach Ron Vidrine said of Bolton.
“We’ve been a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde team all season. About the last three weeks, though, the girls have been gelling together and have been playing consistent ball. Our No. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 hitters have been hitting well all season but never simultaneously. The last two weeks, they’ve been clicking on all cylinders.”