DUTCHTOWN — East Ascension’s former starting third baseman Brea Aikens has been diligently working herself back from an ankle injury that sidelined her the past month.
With the Lady Spartans looking to distance themselves from parish rival Dutchtown, Aikens officially welcomed herself back to the team’s lineup.
Aikens, seeing live pitching for the first time since her injury, entered as pinch-hitter in the fifth inning and lined a shot off the top of Dutchtown first baseman Leah Spears’ glove and into right field. That resulted in a two-run double and provided East Ascension with the cushion it needed in a 6-3 victory on Thursday.
“I was expecting her to throw all outside,” Aiken said of Dutchtown pitcher Ali McCoy. “She came out and then in. Then I was waiting on her rise ball, and she came out again. I waited and just unloaded on it. I was hoping not to trip over the (first base) bag. It was a good feeling.”
East Ascension (10-8, 5-3 in 5-5A play) atoned for a 6-4 loss two weeks ago at Dutchtown (10-11, 5-2) and enabled St. Amant (15-4, 8-0) to capture the District 5-5A championship.
The Lady Spartans’ win was anything but conventional, collecting only four hits against McCoy, a Southeastern Louisiana signee, but they took advantage of 10 walks and four wild pitches.
EA shortstop and LSU signee Claire Weinberger (2-for-3, RBI, stolen base) had two of EA’s four hits.
“I don’t think she had a control problem at all,” Dutchtown coach Nancy Ensminger said. “They kept fighting. This game doesn’t define our season. We’ll be fine. We’re used to adversity. We’ve just got to pick up and flush this game.”
Instead of having to play from behind East Ascension, which trailed 4-0 in the second inning at Dutchtown, was content being more patient at the plate against McCoy (10-9), who threw 77 of 152 pitches for strikes.
The Lady Spartans loaded the bases in each of the first two innings and took a 3-0 lead on Taja Landry’s bases-loaded walk and a wild pitch that brought in Verlencia Jackson in the first inning.
Dutchtown, led by the 3-for-4 effort of Baylee Bourgeois, had three of its nine hits in the fourth when it closed to 3-2 on Kaylee Sharpe’s two-run single.
Five of EA’s six runs were derived from walks, with the Lady Spartans adding a run in the fourth on Weinberger’s groundout before Aiken’s clutch hit an inning later.
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.
“Jessie’s going to give up hits, but she always makes a big pitch when she needs to,” EA coach Amy Pitre said. “They’re going to get runners on, that’s what they do. But you’ve got to be able to make a big pitch when it matters and get a ground ball, and she did that.”