ST. AMANT — There was no such thing as an unlucky No. 13 for the St. Amant softball team.
The undefeated Gators pounded out 13 hits while notching their first 13th win, a 12-4 win over District 5-5A rival East Ascension on Tuesday night.
“We tell the kids all the time it doesn’t matter how many hits you get, it’s how many hits you get when you need them,” St. Amant coach Scott Nielson said. “Prime-time at-bats in prime-time situations. And that’s what we got today.”
The other thing the Gators (13-0, 3-0 in 5-5A) got was a masterful pitching performance from Gabrielle Sharp, who struck out 11 and allowed just six hits, three of which came when East Ascension (12-4, 2-1) scratched out a final run in the top of the seventh.
Abby McKey was the was offensive leader, finishing 3-for-4 with three RBIs, including a two-RBI hit in the seventh. Taylor Tidwell, Taylor Trabeau and Jadyn Rumfellow each had two hits for the Gators. Losing pitcher Jessie Watts had two hits, including a two-run home run. Claire Weinberger also had two hits for the Spartans.
Watts staked the Spartans to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Weinberger reached on an infield single to open the game but was forced at second. Watts worked a 3-2 count before launching a pitch over the center field fence. It was Watts’ third home run during a two-day span. After that Sharp (10-0) settled in, retiring eight in a row at one point.
“I missed my spot,” Sharp said. “But after she hit it I told myself I had to get over it and pitch with a lot of confidence. And that’s what I did. I knew I had my fielders to back me up. I love having a team that is always making plays.”
Though St. Amant left 12 runners on base, East Ascension coach Amy Pitre pondered the seven runners the Spartans stranded and a few other miscues the Gators capitalized on.
“I think everybody knows what we try to do to win games,” Pitre said. “We get the top of the lineup on and let our three and four (hitters) go to work. The bottom of the lineup has to produce better than that.
“(St. Amant) did a great job hitting the ball. When we did have runners in scoring position, we didn’t capitalize. There was a time when we could have chipped away and gotten back in the game.”
The Gators got one run back in the bottom of the inning. Kara Gremillion walked and scored on an error that followed a Taylor Tidwell’s single.
The Gators evened the score in the bottom of the second. Pam Carbo singled and later scored on a Rumfellow single. St. Amant sent nine batters to the plate in the bottom of the third and took the lead. Trabeau had an RBI hit. The other runs scored on a bases-loaded walk and an error.
McKenzie King’s two-RBI hit in the fourth put the Gators in control 7-3. Back-to-back doubles by McKey and Kourtney Gremillion keyed a three-run fifth for the winners.
“I think there are people out there who don’t think we’re that strong because we have a lot of young players,” Trabeau said. “But I believe we’re strong. Chemistry is a big part of our team … really any team. You’ve got to have it and we do.”