SULPHUR — The classification changed.
The results didn’t.
John Curtis won its third straight state championship Saturday, putting the exclamation point on the season with a dominant 13-3, six-inning victory over Jena for the Class 3A title in the Louisiana High School Athletic Association State Championships at Frasch Park.
The Patriots (29-2) won back-to-back titles in 2A before electing to play up a classification to 3A this season.
“It feels better than the last one,” Curtis coach Jerry Godfrey said. “But hey, they all feel good.”
Senior shortstop Brooke Lee started it and finished it. She led off the bottom of the first with a homer and capped it off with a two-run double to end it.
The double was part of a nine-run inning that broke the game open for the Patriots.
“My emotions right now are all over the place,” said Lee, who was 4-for-4. “I can’t think of a better way to go out than the way we did.”
Lee had plenty of help in this one, especially in the final inning when Curtis brought 12 batters to the plate.
There was a three-run blast to left-center field by Payton Adams.
Jenna Bordelon had an RBI triple, followed by back-to-back RBI singles by Lee and Heather Scully.
“We really hadn’t hit the ball well since we have been over here this year,” Godfrey said. “So we were waiting to put it together. We had faced such good pitching throughout the year. So when we got here the pitching was a little bit flatter. But tonight everyone did their part, and we were solid hitting the ball from one through nine in the lineup.”
It was the eighth title overall for Curtis, which also won five in a row from 2003-07.
Senior pitcher Katie Brignac earned the win on the mound, despite getting called for illegal pitches several times for the second straight day.
Brignac struck out 11 to finish hthe season with 290 strikeouts. She had seven strikeouts in a three-hit performance in Saturday’s 8-1 semifinal victory over Notre Dame. She also had a homer and three RBIs in the semifinal victory.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Brignac said. “Just knowing that I will never break out saying ‘Patriots’ again is painful, but I am going on to bigger and better things.”
Curtis led 2-0 after one inning. After Lee’s homer, Heather Scully followed with a single and scored after a pair of Jena errors.
Jena answered in the fourth when Emilee Howard reached on an error and later scored on a fielder’s choice.
Brignac helped her cause in the bottom of the inning, hitting a double off the left field fence to drive in two more runs.
Jena cut it to 4-3 in the sixth.
Braegan Barlew belted an RBI double to score Darian Thacker. Barlew then scored when Brignac was called for an illegal pitch. It was the 10th time she was called for the infraction.
“It was frustrating, but if they see it, they see it,” Godfrey said.
Jena, making its first trip to the title game, finished 22-7.
“We came to play,” Jena coach Felicia Hailey said. “We didn’t come to just show up. It didn’t happen this year, but I expect to be back next year.”
So does Curtis. But the Patriots will be without its six seniors, who call themselves the “Solid Six.” The senior sextet of Brignac, Lee, Scully, Rachel Brockhaus, Rebecca Dill, and Briana Leonard make up his starting infield.
“We will miss them a lot because they did so much for this program,” Godfrey said. “Next year someone else will have to be seniors. Then someone else. Then someone else. We just have to keep working.”
The six seniors exchanged hugs and shed tears after hoisting the state championship trophy for the third time in their career, including a 32-0 record when they were sophomores.
“I think we left our mark,” said Brignac.