East Ascension softball team no stranger to underdog role, taking on top-seeded Alexandria in Class 5A regional playoff game _lowres

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- East Ascension starting pitcher Jessie Watts (5) warms up in the fourth inning of St. Amant's 5-5A softball win over East Ascension Monday at St. Amant.

East Ascension softball coach Amy Pitre has been in similar situations before.

In 2012, the Spartans were seeded 22nd but advanced all to the Class 5A quarterfinals before losing to eventual state champion Hahnville.

EAHS (17-10), seeded 17th, travels to play top-seeded Alexandria Senior High (26-4) at 5 p.m. Friday with a berth in the LHSAA’s Fastpitch 56 state tournament on the line.

“Since the second round of district, we’ve been playing pretty well,” Pitre said. “We’re playing with a lot of confidence. Alexandria is very good.

“This senior group has been to the state tournament for the last two years, and they don’t want it to end. We’re going to have to play solid defense, hit our spots pitching and continue to produce on offense.”

The Spartans of District 5-5A rallied for a 13-7 win over Slidell on Monday to open the playoffs. Pitcher Jessie Watts, a Louisiana-Monroe signee, was 5-for-5 with two home runs, two doubles and six RBIs.

Watts is hitting .500 with eight home runs and 44 RBIs. Shortstop Claire Weinberger, an LSU signee, is hitting .573 with 22 RBIs.

Bourque steps down

Seven is considered to be a mystical number by some. It’s also the final number for Denham Springs softball coach David Bourque, who is stepping down after seven seasons.

Bourque, also the school’s head athletic trainer, said the move will give him more time to focus on those duties and on his family.

“It’s been seven years and a really good run,” Bourque said. “We were the state runner-up twice, and I’ve enjoyed it. One of my fondest memories is that my daughter was part of the 2014 team that was the runner-up.

“Being an athletic trainer and a coach takes up a lot of time. I’m ready to get more immersed in training seminars this summer and to spend more time with my family.”

Bourque coached DSHS to Class 5A runner-up finishes in 2010 and 2014.

Friday’s for 3A

Top-seeded Parkview Baptist leads the list of teams playing at home Friday. The Class 3A Eagles host No. 17 E.D. White Catholic (15-12) at 4:30 p.m. PBS’ District 6-3A rival, No. 6 Brusly (21-13), hosts 22nd-seeded Erath (14-15) at 5 p.m.

“We played them two years ago, and they still have some players from that team,” PBS coach Ashlee Weems said. “They’re in a tough district with North Vermilion and Kaplan. There’s no way we’ll overlook them.”

In Class 1A, fourth-seeded Ascension Catholic (17-8) hosts No. 13 Centerville (13-11) at 5 p.m. at the Fairgrounds in Donaldsonville.

The Central focus

Eighth-seeded Central (23-6) hosts No. 24 Fontainebleau (14-7) at 2 p.m. Saturday seeking its first berth in the LHSAA tourney since 2010. Don’t mention the word “win” to the Wildcats of 4-5A.

“I know we’ve exceeded expectations this year,” Central coach Michelle Efferson said. “In my years of coaching, this is one of my all-time favorite teams. They do a great job of playing for the person playing next to them and of focusing on each game.”

From 5A to B

Seventh-seeded St. Amant (25-5) of District 5-5A has won 20 straight. The Gators host a former district rival, No. 10 Hahnville (23-7), at noon Saturday.

The District 4-5A co-champions, second-seeded Zachary and No. 5 Live Oak, also host Saturday games. Live Oak (23-6) plays 5A newcomer Evangel Christian (20-8), at 2 p.m. at Live Oak Sports Park. Zachary (22-5) hosts No. 15 Ruston (14-11) at 3 p.m. at Zachary Youth Park. A year ago, the teams played each other in the regional round.

In Class B, second-seeded Holden (28-3) hosts No. 18 Glenmora (14-17) at noon Saturday. The Rockets were the Class B runner-up in 2011.

Already in

Two teams, Class 1A Catholic-Pointe Coupee and Class C Maurepas, have already punched their tickets for the LHSAA tourney set for April 29-30 in Sulphur.

Catholic-Pointe Coupee beat New Roads rival False River Academy 4-0 on Wednesday to advance. The Hornets won the 1A state title in 2013 and were in the semifinals the last two years. Catholic-PC plays the Oak Grove-East Beauregard winner.

Maurepas, a Class B quarterfinalist last year, advances in Class C with a 15-0 win over Summerfield.

The Wolves meet the Northside Christian-Dodson winner.