They’ve called themselves the Quad Squad all season.
Now the John Curtis softball team is just three victories away from showing they were indeed worthy of that name.
The Patriots (24-3) are looking for their fourth consecutive state championship this weekend in Sulphur.
Curtis, the No. 1 seed, begins play on noon Friday against No. 9 Notre Dame (16-5) at Frasch Park in the quarterfinals of the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Fast Pitch 56.
“I think it’s a difficult task trying to win four in a row,” senior pitcher Peyton Pigniolo said. “Everyone is doubting us because we don’t have the six seniors like we did last year. But we have young girls who have stepped up and are doing their job. As a team, I think we have been playing amazing.”
The winner of Friday’s game advances to Saturday’s 1 p.m. semifinal to play the winner of Friday’s game between North Vermilion and Parkview Baptist. The championship game is set for 7 p.m. Saturday. Kaplan, Iota. Brusly and St. Charles are on the other side of the bracket.
Patriots coach Jerry Godfrey said there is no added pressure going for a fourth consecutive title. It would be the ninth in school history, including the five straight Curtis won from 2003-2007.
“We never have pressure,” Godfrey said. “The pressure is just to get better every week in practice. I am not expecting anything to change with the team this week.”
It will the third time the Patriots have seen Notre Dame over the past 12 months.
Curtis won 8-1 last season in the semifinals and won 5-4 earlier this season. The Patriots had to rally from a 4-0 deficit to win that one in extra innings in a tournament at Teurlings Catholic.
“They are a very good team,” Godfrey said. “It could have gone either way. They are very good and they are very fast.”
Perhaps working to Curtis’ advantage is that Pigniolo, a Southeastern Louisiana signee, didn’t pitch in that game.
Godfrey isn’t concerned that the victory earlier in the season over Notre Dame will cause his team to come out flat.
“The girls have done a good job of keeping their heads level all season,” he said. Notre Dame beat McGehee and Loranger by identical 15-0 scores.
Curtis has been just as impressive.
The Patriots outscored their two playoff opponents (Iowa and Vidalia) by a combined score of 16-0. Going back to the regular season, Curtis has three consecutive shutouts and is riding a 14-game winning streak. The Patriots have won their last nine games by an amazing score of 114-3 and are now just three wins away from a fourth title, despite having just two seniors.
Shortstop Toni Hebert, who transferred from Riverside, along with third baseman Payton Adams, left fielder Logan Melancon and catcher Alyssa Dean lead the offense on a team with just two seniors: Pigniolo and Victoria Price.
“I knew we were going to step up and do our job,” Pigniolo said. “It’s really a strong group. I completely believed in them and I was planning to get back to state the whole time.”