SULPHUR — Lutcher’s magic finally ran out in the sixth inning.
No. 15 Lutcher, the lowest seed to make it to the finals of the Allstate Sugar Bowl/Fast Pitch 56 state softball tournament, fell short late Saturday night, kept in check by No. 4 seed Kaplan during a 4-0 loss in the Class 3A state championship game at Frasch Park.
“I don’t think anybody thought the No. 15 seed could come through the tournament like this,” Lutcher coach Cathy Bland said. “But I knew in my heart what kind of team we were and what kind of athletes I had. I can’t be more proud of these girls and what they accomplished. We had a tremendous year.”
But the Bulldogs (24-7) came up a win short of their third state title and their first since 2009, mostly because of the dominance of Kaplan pitcher Abby Trahan.
Trahan, an obvious choice as the game’s Most Outstanding Player, gave up just two hits and struck out 14. She fanned the side in the seventh, helping Kaplan remove the sour taste from last season’s runner-up finish. It was the school’s second state title, coming a decade after the first one.
“This is a lot sweeter than last season,” Trahan said.
Lutcher’s only hits were an infield single by Allie Roussel in the second inning and another by Sadie Dicharry in the third.
The game was a pitcher’s duel until Kaplan broke loose in the sixth. Lutcher’s Brenn Ursin finished with eight strikeouts.
Megan Hebert scored the game’s first run in the bottom of the sixth, sprinting in from third on Olivia Trahan’s bunt and just getting under the tag. Then Shelbee Leger delivered the biggest hit of the game, driving in a pair of runs with a single up the middle. Kaplan added another run when Avarie Louque, who replaced Ursin, threw a bases-loaded wild pitch.
Kaplan’s best chance to score before that came an inning earlier. Kenzi Gaspard was on second base and stole third, but she tried to score on the play when the throw went into left field. She was thrown out at the plate by Lutcher left fielder Avarie Louque.
“I had chills going down my spine with that one,” Bland said. “It was a hard-fought game, but I have to give credit to them. (Trahan) pitched lights out.”
Lutcher made its way to Saturday night’s championship game by beating No. 6 Brusly 4-1 in the semifinals earlier in the day. Ursin struck out 10 batters and allowed just four hits in that one.
Lutcher scored all of its runs in the fourth against Brusly. Ursin hit a two-run homer, and Allie Rousell drove in two with a triple.
Lutcher’s trip to the title game looked unlikely early in the season.
“We had to overcome major injuries,” Bland said. “We started off the season winning four out of our first 12 games. We came back the second half of the season and fought and fought. My pitchers came back healthy, and we have done everything we have supposed to do as a team.”
Lutcher was the second-lowest seeded team to make the Fast Pitch 56, trailing only to No. 26 Teurlings Catholic in Class 4A.
“God knows I wanted to take it home and I wish we had won, but again I can’t be disappointed in the way we played,” Bland said.
It was the final game for seniors Louque, Dicharry, Maci Schexnayder, Heidi Schexnayder, Jaci Harrison and Ashlyn Brack.
“They were the backbone of the team,” Bland said. “They always knew when to pull the girls together when things were bad. ... We had some ups and downs. But to finish like we finished there is nothing to hang our heads about.”