Sydney Loupe’s game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning helped No. 14 Pope John Paul II advance over No. 19 Doyle 2-1 in the bidistrict round of the Class 2A state softball playoffs on Monday afternoon in Slidell.
With the win, Pope John Paul advances to take on No. 3 Holy Savior Menard, which defeated No. 30 Pine 16-0 on Monday.
Tied at 1-1 heading into the bottom of the eighth, Peyton Corwin and Brittney Chetta both reached on errors to lead off the inning. After Corwin was retired on a fielder’s choice, Chetta scored two pitches later on Loupe’s single into left field that was just beyond the fingertips of leaping Doyle shortstop Taylin Underwood.
“This was our last home game of the season no matter what,” Loupe said. “I really didn’t want to go 0-for-4 my last home game. I just swung the bat hard and hoped it went my way. We just came together as a team and just decided that we weren’t ready to be done yet with this season.”
Unable to pick up a hit for the first four innings, the Lady Jaguars (16-8) tied the game at 1 on Chloe Cooper’s solo home run. Cooper finished the game as the leading hitter for Pope John Paul, going 2-3 with an RBI and a stolen base.
Pope John Paul coach Mark Jeanmard credited his team’s resiliency as the biggest reason for victory.
“We preached to our kids all season long about keeping their heads in the game because there is always a possibility for anything,” he said. “The last couple of years we have overcome a lot, whether it is a big deficit or losing a big lead, so our squad has been through a lot. I told my team at the start of the game that let’s just make sure we are 1-0 at the end of it. One game at a time.”
While the Lady Jaguar offense found a way to push across the extra-inning run, right-hander Maddie York shut down Doyle for most of the game, allowing only one run on three hits, striking out 14 and walking five.”
“I wasn’t nervous, but I just kept encouraging my offense the entire game and they were doing the same with me,” York said. “When we came out here, we were really pumped up and we knew that one run was not going to beat this team.
“I had confidence in my pitches tonight. I had confidence in all of my pitches tonight, and they were working well.”
Loupe said she couldn’t be happier for her teammate in the circle.
“Maddie has been giving us heart attacks all season,” Loupe said. “But to her credit, she battled throughout the entire game and did what she was supposed to do for us to come away with the victory. She is a good pitcher that is only going to get better and better.”
A pitchers duel for the first seven innings, Doyle (13-13) pushed across a single run in the fifth inning.
Underwood walked to lead off the inning and stole second and third base. She later scored on a two-out RBI single by third baseman Nicole Colclough.
The Tigers were only able to push across the single run after leaving 10 runners on base in the game.
“I thought we played very well today,” Doyle coach Amanda Decell said. “We were patient at the plate. We couldn’t put bunts down, period. We had a lot of chances to score runners and had a lot of chances to get them across the plate. Any kind of bunt, we couldn’t put down. That was the problem. Usually we are able to do that, and I think that lack of execution is what lost the ball game.”
Olivia Welda (13-13) took the loss, allowing one earned run in eight innings on three hits while striking out two and walking two.