PINEVILLE — For 41/2 innings, Game 2 of the LHSCA/LSCA All-Star softball doubleheader was mostly about pitching and defense.
Then it turned into an Ascension Parish power play.
The teams scored 18 runs during the final 21/2 innings as the East defeated the West 10-8 on Saturday at Louisiana College.
East MVP Kourtney Gremillion of St. Amant and West MVP Rae’Shaun Malancon of Ascension Catholic were major power brokers as the East prevented a sweep with the win. The West won 4-1 in Game 1 played Friday night.
“It was a great game and a great experience,” East coach Nancy Ensminger of Dutchtown said. “It was so much fun, and Ascension Parish really put on a show. We had both MVPs, and all the girls from the parish and from the Baton Rouge area, played well.”
Gremillion extended the East lead to a 6-2 lead with a three-run home run in the top of the sixth. Then St. Thomas More’s Bailey Hemphill launched a two-run homer, and Malancon followed with a three-run shot that gave the West a 7-6 lead in the bottom of the inning.
But Gremillion had the parting shot. She delivered the game-winning RBI with a single in the top of the seventh. East Ascension’s Jessie Watts brought home insurance runs with a double.
“It felt pretty solid,” Gremillion, a Louisiana-Lafayette signee, said of her hits. “I felt pretty good about it. I saw the pitches really well.”
Malancon, an LSU-Eunice signee, said she was humbled by winning the MVP award.
“I’m honored, I don’t know what to say,” Malancon said. “It’s an overwhelming feeling for me. We had great competition, and for me to be out there with them, it’s an honor.”
Gremillion finished 2-for-2 with four RBIs and two runs scored. Dutchtown’s Ali McCoy was the winning pitcher. Watts had two RBI hits and EAHS’ Claire Weinberger (run scored) and Catholic-PC’s Katelyn Bellelo (RBI hit) also were key contributors for the East. Brusly’s Kaitlin David had two hits for the West.
The East had trouble finding its rhythm at first, as Kaplan pitcher Abby Trahan struck out five in three innings.
Florien pitcher Abbey McMillan’s sacrifice fly scored Elise Vincent, opening up things in the fourth and giving the West a 2-0 lead.
However, the momentum shifted in the East’s favor after a two-run double by Pineville outfielder Rebecca Martin to tie the game at 2 in the top of the fifth, while Catholic-PC’s Bellelo drove in Martin with a double.
In the top of the seventh Mount Carmel’s Samantha Dares drove in Weinberger to tie the game. North DeSoto’s Sami Walters drove in Brusly’s David to make it 10-8 in the bottom of the seventh. But the West got no closer.
The game also gave Ensminger the chance to coach one of her nieces for the first time, and Gremillion responded.
“The expectations were there, and she (Gremillion) came through for us,” Ensminger said. “She was on fire. I’m so glad I got to share the experience and to coach her. All these years and this is first time I’ve had a chance to coach a family member. I loved it.”