Coach Jerry Godfrey said he doesn’t set state softball championship expectations at top-seeded John Curtis.
“The parents do enough of that,” Godfrey, smiling, said after the Patriots started their road to a third consecutive state title with an 11-1 Class 3A bidi strict rout of 32nd-seeded Avoyelles.
After all, the parents have already booked hotels stays for the playoffs; ordered T-shirts commemorating the postseason push.
No wonder the celebration following Curtis’ first-round playoff win more closely resembled a bathroom break during a cross-country road trip to Disney World. Fans expect the Patriots to win. They almost demand it - the softball squad lost just twice during the regular season - much like the success football coach J.T Curtis experiences every fall.
So it’s Godfrey’s job to keep ace Katie Brignac and the Patriots focused on the next game on the playoff schedule, and nothing else.
Curtis (25-2) on Monday played with focus on its home diamond, scoring two runs in the first, three in the second and one in the third before earning a victory via the 10-run rule with a five-run fourth, highlighted by Payton Adams’ three-run home run.
On the mound, Brignac posted 11 strikeouts in a one-hit, complete game. She had no strikeouts.
“Of course, at the end of the season, we want a state championship,” Brignac said. “But you have to (focus on games) one by one because if we don’t win the next game, we don’t go to state. You have to take it game by game.
“Right now, were not even thinking about the state tournament.”
The Patriots don’t have to. Everyone else in the Curtis community is.
Still, Godfrey, knowing when to push and when to be patient, was visibly irritated by the one Avoyelles (9-14) scored in the top of the fifth. Karli McCaleb doubled to left center, moved to second on a field we’d choice, stole third and scored on a passed ball. The play marked Curtis’ lone challenge on Monday.
“We didn’t hit the ball. You gotta hit and catch,” said Avoyellas coach Jade Lambert, whose team had three errors in the outfield.
Curtis moves on to play the winner of 16th-seeded Jewel Sumner and 17th-seeded Vidalia in the regional round.