GONZALES — During a week in which it played seven softball games in six days, East Ascension may have saved its best for last.
After trailing most of the game against District 5-5A rival Dutchtown, the Spartans showed no fatigue as they rallied for a 3-2 win at East Ascension.
East Ascension (11-3, 2-0) began the current stretch dropping three games over the weekend at the St. Amant Invitational. The Spartans got back on track with midweek wins over Lutcher, Woodlawn and Hahnville.
“Anytime you get a win in Ascension Parish it’s huge,” EA coach Amy Pitre said. “This is a big district win because Dutchtown is a great team. And what a way to end the week, starting on Saturday and not stopping until (Thursday).”
Spartans junior Jessie Watts surrendered a pair of first-inning runs, and then stymied Dutchtown the rest of the game. Her own fielding helped her work out of a jam in the third, and a double play in the sixth kept things rolling.
In seven innings, Watts gave up six hits and two runs, only one of which was earned. She had no strikeouts or walks.
Dutchtown (11-2, 1-1) got sterling pitching from Ali McCoy, who struck out 12 in six innings. She walked four and gave up six hits, with two of the three runs earned.
“I thought both pitchers were excellent today,” St. Amant coach Nancy Ensminger said. “It came down to who made the mistakes. It was tight.”
The mistake came in the EA fifth when Griffins shortstop Taylor Heck committed their only error. With the score tied and runners at first and second, Heck couldn’t handle Callie Sholmire’s sharp grounder. Courtesy runner Jaylen Triola raced in from second with the go-ahead run.
Heck had been the hero two batters earlier when her relay throw after an RBI double by Watts cut down Verlencia Jackson at the plate. McCoy eventually got out of the inning with a pair of strikeouts, but EA had taken a 3-2 lead after five innings.
In the Dutchtown sixth, McCoy reached base on a one-out single. But Bria White followed with a grounder to shortstop Claire Weinberger, who stepped on second and threw to first for the double play.
In the seventh, Weinberger’s throwing error and a single had two runners on with one out. Two grounders to Weinberger let her atone for the error. She threw out the lead runner at third for the second out, and then made a clean throw to first to get the next batter.
At the plate, Watts had two doubles and an RBI, and Mackenzie Andrews had two hits and an RBI to lead EA.
McCoy topped Dutchtown with two hits and an RBI.
Baylee Bourgeois got things started in the Dutchtown first when she reached on a catcher’s interference call. McCoy and Royelle Cobb followed with RBI singles to give the Griffins a 2-0 lead.
East Ascension came back in the bottom of the inning. Andrews singled home Watts, who had doubled to left with two outs. McCoy struck out Sholmire to end the inning.
The score stayed 2-1 until the top of the fifth. Weinberger led off with a walk, and Jackson followed with a single to left to get the rally started.
On the other side, Watts and the EA defense got stronger as the game wore on.
“You get ahead in the count, and you try not to give up any walks,” Watts said. “Whenever you have runners on you have to make that big pitch.”