SULPHUR — Taking advantage of four Ellender errors, fourth-seeded St. Thomas advanced to the Class 4A semifinals with a 5-1 win Friday afternoon at Frasch Park.
With the win, the Cougars (21-5) advance to play West Ouachita at 1 p.m. Saturday in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association State Softball Tournament .
“We got the runs when we needed them,” STM coach Andria Waguespack said. “I’m happy. If you get the chance to play on the last day of the season, then you have had a great season. I’m not going to complain about it. We are going to have to fix some things for (Saturday) but the more important thing is that we get that opportunity to fix some things for tomorrow. You do what you have to do to move on.”
STM started the scoring in the bottom of the first. With two outs, Bailey Hemphill walked and Jamie Landry followed with a line drive to center field that was misplayed allowing a run to score. In the midst of the play, a throwing error on catcher Annie Robinson would let Landry score to make it 2-0.
Landry came up big again in the fifth inning. With two runners, she cleared the bases with a two-run triple to increase the STM lead to 4-0.
“I figured that they were going to walk Bailey (again) because she is an amazing hitter,” Landry said. “My teammates did their job by getting on base so it was up to me to do my part and drive them in. Bailey is usually our big hitter, and she has gotten the job done for us all season long, but (the Patriots) were not going to let her hit so it was my job to step up and drive in runs.”
While Landry led the Cougars, sophomore right-hander Whitney Romero shut down the Ellender attack. She allowing only one unearned run on two hits with 12 strikeouts and two walks.
“The first batter started things off a little shaky for us, but other than that I did feel pretty good about myself in the circle,” Romero said. “I always try to bring my best as the games get more and more important and you can’t get more important that the state quarterfinals. I pitched with a lot of confidence in the circle.
“Offensively it is always important to capitalize on your opponents mistakes and we were able to do that today.
Waguespack said she continues to be impressed with what her sophomore right-hander brings to the circle each and every game.
“You are talking about kid that shines under the spotlight of pressure,” Waguespack said. “She likes to be in the big games, and she likes the big pressure. This is her element. I am happy for her. I’m happy her teammates got her back and played some great defense for the most part. We survived to see another day.”
NOTRE DAME 8, BUCKEYE: 2: Elise LeBeouf went 3-for-3 with a home run as Notre Dame defeated Buckeye in a Class 3A quarterfinals.
With the win Notre Dame (19-4) advances to take on top-seeded John Curtis at 1 p.m.
Scoring in every inning but the second, Notre Dame pushed across nine hits. Zoie LaVergne was the other big-hitter for the Pioneers as she drove in two runs on two hits and also scored a pair of runs.
Mollie Stelly was the winning pitcher, striking out four and allowing two runs on four hits and striking out four.
NORTH VERMILLION 13, KAPLAN 4: A seven-run fourth inning propelled North Vermillion to a win over Kaplan in a Class 3A quarterfinal.
North Vermillion (21-6) advances to take on 11th-seeded Jena in a semifinal at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Pounding out 21 hits, North Vermillion was led by the trio of Elise Vincent, Kyla Hebert and Brooke Dupuy who all had 3-for-5 days. Miranda Martin went 2-for-5 and had a homer.
Hannah Yidallier was the winning pitcher, allowing only four hits and striking out two and walking two.
ASCENSION CATHOLIC 6, HANSON 5: Bailey Acosta slid in to score the winning run for ACHS (26-6) after a hit by Kaitlyn Mistretta in the bottom of the seventh. With the win, the Bulldogs advance to play Central Catholic (27-3) at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Raeshaun Malancon hit her second home run of the game to lead off the seventh for ACHS. Bailey Amedee then smashed a triple to set the stage for the Bulldogs to score the winning run. Aimee Prejeant had two hits for the winners. Kim Sonnier (home run) and Paige Diamond (three hits) led Hanson (19-8).
CENTRAL CATHOLIC 9, ST. JOHN 1: Morgan City-based Central Catholic (27-3) scored two or more runs in three innings, got a big day from Landry and got a huge game from Gee Garrett, who had a home run and two doubles.
Seven errors didn’t help the cause for St. John (21-13), which lost in the quarterfinals for the second straight year.
Garrett’s two-run homer in the sixth keyed a three-run inning that allowed CCMC to put the game away.
Landry, who now has 309 strikeouts on the season, scattered four St. John hits.
“We made it to the tournament last year for the first time in a long time and lost 1-0 in nine innings in the quarterfinals,” Central Catholic coach Joe Russo said. “I think we were more relaxed this year. It was our day today. We were on the ball (hitting) and our pitcher had a good day.”