DUTCHTOWN — When St. Amant softball coach Scott Nielson credits the source of his team’s recent resurgence, he points to improved offensive production.
More specifically, the timing of the Lady Gators’ hits.
With St. Amant nearing the end of the first round of District 5-5A play, the Lady Gators took sole possession of the league’s lead with a well-rounded 6-1 victory over Dutchtown on Tuesday at Lady Griffin Park.
“It’s not how many hits you get, but when you get them,” said Nielson, who notched the 401st win in his 14th season. “We got some big ones. I couldn’t be prouder of them for their effort.”
St. Amant (11-5, 5-0 in district) pushed its win streak to seven games on the strength of a 12-hit attack, keyed by second baseman McKenzie King, and a complete game from Rene Firmin.
King, the team’s No. 7 batter, went 2-for-3 and drove in a team-high three runs. Jadyn Rumfellow and Abbey McKey each added two hits.
“I went up there with confidence, knowing my team was cheering me on and it helped,” King said. “I’ve been struggling. This game had to be one of my best.”
St. Amant scored twice in the first against Dutchtown senior Ali McCoy. The Southeastern Louisiana signee loaded the bases on a pair of walks, hit a batter and allowed the game’s first run on a wild pitch.
King drove in Kourtney Gremillion with a single to right field, but right fielder Bailey Gilleon threw a one-hopper to catcher Whitney Hall, who tagged out McKey to end the inning
McCoy (6-7), who threw 35 pitches in the opening inning, went on to allow 10 hits, walk four and strike out 11.
“It could have been a lot worse,” Dutchtown coach Nancy Ensminger said. “I was happy to get out of that inning with two runs. I thought she pitched really well.”
St. Amant scored five of its six runs after two were out. King drove in a pair of runs with a single in the third and the Lady Gators added run-scoring hits from Gremillion, a Louisiana-Lafayette signee, on a single in the fourth and McKey, who doubled in the sixth.
Firmin (6-2) yielded five hits, walked three and struck out seven, including the final two outs of the game. She lost her shutout bid on an RBI-single from pinch-hitter Maci Gentile in the sixth inning.
“The thing that I liked about today’s game was that we were the visiting team,” Nielson said. “We had the opportunity to set the tone early. Offensively we had a great opportunity and we took advantage of it.”