SULPHUR — Five innings into the game, it looks bleak for the Quad Squad.
Fortunately for John Curtis’ softball team, the game didn’t end there.
The top-seeded Patriots scored four runs in the sixth inning to defeat No. 3 Kaplan 4-3 in the Class 3A state title game Saturday night at Frasch Park.
Trailing 3-0 heading into the sixth inning, John Curtis (27-3) got going quickly.
Toni Hebert walked to lead off the inning. Payton Adams and Lydia Linden then reached on errors by Kaplan shortstop Olivia Gabor for the first run of the game.
Alyssa Dean’s RBI single cut the lead to 3-2 and Brianna Neal popped up to second base which was dropped, scoring Linden to tie the game at 3-3. Logan Melancon’s RBI groundout scored Dean to give the Patriots the lead and the come-from behind victory.
“I had two strikeouts before that at-bat,” Melancon said. “So I was, needless to say, motivated to try and help my team in any way possible. I got another chance and the bases were loaded, and I just said I had to do my job. No matter what it was, I had to get us that go-ahead run.
“We have done a good job of battling all year long. The focus was there the entire game. It just had to happen for us, and in the sixth inning it finally clicked.”
Patriots coach Jerry Godfrey credited his team’s focus to stay in the game until the very end.
“That is why you play seven innings,” Godfrey said. “That is a credit to our girls and the type of team that we have. Games like this, you have to never stop believing. They worked their butts off all year long, and tonight it paid off because we stepped up when we needed to.
“I have been on both sides of games like this, but it is like I told my girls — I never prepare a losing speech. It doesn’t exist for me as a coach. We are going to talk about fighting and winning until the game is over.”
A scoreless game through the first three innings, Lindsey Schexnailder led off the fourth inning with a walk. Trahan followed with a massive two-run bomb over the left center field wall to give the Pirates a 2-0 advantage.
Lexi Breaux made it 3-0 in the sixth inning when lined a two-out RBI double into the left field corner, scoring Kailey LeJeune.
Peyton Pigniolo was named Most Outstanding Player for the Patriots. The complete-game winner in the circle, Pigniolo allowed three runs on two hits. She struck out 14 and walked six.
“I had faith in my team that we were going to come back,” Pigniolo said. “All the credit goes to them. We did what we needed to do. We rattled (Kaplan) in the sixth inning. They made a few errors but we did what we needed to do to score runs.”