Photos: State softball Tournament _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Ascension Catholic's Maggie Blanchard bunts against Hanson Memorial in a Class 1A quarterfinal at the state tournament Friday in Sulphur.

SULPHUR — Defending Class 1A champion Catholic-Pointe Coupee got off to a quick start at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association State Softball Tournament on Friday.

The top-seeded Hornets helped open action by ousting No. 8 Ouachita Christian 6-1 in a quarterfinal at Frasch Park.

With the win, Catholic-PC (24-4) advances to play 12th-seeded Cedar Creek in a semifinal at 11 a.m. Saturday.

It was a split decision for Baton Rouge’s other 1A teams. Third-seeded Ascension Catholic scored twice in the bottom of the seventh to notch a 6-5 win over No. 11 Hanson Memorial. Second-seeded Central Catholic pounded out nine hits and got 11 strikeouts from Megan Landry in its 9-1 victory over 10th-seeded St. John.

Catholic-PC wasted no time getting on the scoreboard. The Hornets pushed across two runs in their first at-bat. Phoebe Fabre singled and stole second base with one out. After Lauren David walked, a wild pitch put runners on second and third, Katelyn Bellelo launched a two-run double into center field to make it 2-0.

Claire Roy added an RBI single in the third to make it a 3-0. Pitcher Ryann Bizette’s RBI sacrifice fly in the fifth gave CHSPC a 4-0 lead.

“We wanted to be aggressive from the get-go,” Catholic-PC coach Lauren Doucet said. “We didn’t want to let any good pitches go by. Give credit to our hitters because they did their job at the plate.

“It is so different playing on the (artificial) turf because the ball bounces so differently. We just came out and tried to do the best that we could and fortunately enough we are still playing.”

Bizette picked up the win, allowing one run on five hits, with six strikeouts.

Ouachita Christian’s (17-10) lone run came in the seventh inning on Brooke Anderson’s RBI single.

“Pitching with a lead as quick as I was able to definitely helped with the pressure that comes with a game in the playoffs like this,” Bizette said. “But I would have to say that for us as an entire team it helped scoring and leading early, because that meant that we didn’t have to worry about dealing with having to score late. It allowed us to just play our game and that was enough today.”

ASCENSION CATHOLIC 6, HANSON 5: Bailey Acosta slid in to score the winning run for ACHS (26-6) after a hit by Kaitlyn Mistretta in the bottom of the seventh. With the win, the Bulldogs advance to play Central Catholic (27-3) at 11 a.m. Saturday.

“Any game when you get to the state tournament is a challenge,” ACHS coach Brandi Hahn said. “This is a new season. We knew coming in here we were going to be challenged in every game.

“The girls were so poised when they got into that (bottom of the seventh situation. They knew they’d see (it). This is just one step closer to where we want to be.”

Raeshaun Malancon hit her second home run of the game to lead off the seventh for ACHS. Bailey Amedee then smashed a triple to set the stage for the Bulldogs to score the winning run. Aimee Prejeant had two hits for the winners. Kim Sonnier (home run) and Paige Diamond (three hits) led Hanson (19-8).

CENTRAL CATHOLIC 9, ST. JOHN 1: Morgan City-based Central Catholic (27-3) scored two or more runs in three innings, got a big day from Landry and got a huge game from centerfielder Gee Garrett, who had a home run and two doubles.

Committing seven errors didn’t help St. John (21-13), which lost in the quarterfinals for the second straight year.

“It was 9-1, and I think there were only two earned runs,” St. John coach Cindy Prouty said. “You can’t ask a pitcher (SJHS’ Kyndall Gillory) to do more than she did. We have to step up at the plate and do little things. I looked up one time, and I think we had four freshmen on the field. It’s all good. It’s growing pains. It just didn’t go our way.”

Garrett’s two-run homer in the sixth keyed a three-run inning that allowed CCMC to put the game away.

Landry, who now has 309 strikeouts on the season, scattered four hits.

“We made it to the tournament last year for the first time in a long time and lost 1-0 in nine innings in the quarterfinals,” Central Catholic coach Joe Russo said. “I think we were more relaxed this year. It was our day today. We were on the ball (hitting) and our pitcher had a good day.”

Robin Fambrough contributed to this report