There was a number of firsts to ponder before the game, but by the time Cabrini’s 10-0 win over Westgate ended, the Lady Tigers left the Cabrini softball field Monday still looking for their first base hit off Crescents pitcher Karli Perque.
Perque, Cabrini’s hard-throwing sophomore, no-hit the Lady Tigers, faced the minimum numbers of hitters over six innings, and contributed three hits.
Cabrini, the No. 1 seed in Class 4A, will play the winner of Tuesday’s game between No. 17 West Ouachita and No. 16 Morgan City game. If Morgan City wins, they will play at Cabrini later this week. Day and time remain open because Cabrini’s home field will be used for Jazz Fest parking.
Perque threw only 68 pitches. She went to a three-ball count on only one hitter, walking Westgate’s Andrea Hebert in the bottom of the third. Hebert was thrown out attempting to steal by catcher Jessica Breitenbach. Perque, who has 258 strikeouts in 159 innings this season, struck out 11 of the final 15 hitters she faced.
Only one Perque pitch was hit to the outfield, a routine fly ball to left in the first inning.
Oddly, the first was the only inning Perque did not register a strikeout.
“I’ve been working on my change-up, and I threw it a lot in the first,” Perque said. “It has been getting better.”
Cabrini’s record is 24-4. Perque has been the pitcher of record in each decision.
Westgate, the No. 32 seed, was playing its first softball playoff game. Cabrini’s first seed trumped the Lady Tigers’ first appearance early.
Cabrini gave Perque all the runs she would need in the first. Four hits and three errors by the Tigers allowed five runs to score after two were out. Perque had the inning’s only RBI, and each of the runs was unearned.
“The first inning and (we commit) three errors,” Westgate coach Chris Ortego said. “They scored all their runs (in the game) with two outs. That could have been first-time jitters.”
Christie Runnels, who had three RBIs in the game, hit a two-out solo home run to straight-away centerfield in the fifth inning to make it 6-0.
In the sixth, Cabrini’s first two hitters were retired on soft ground balls before the game-ending barrage began.
Hayley Kennair ripped her second hit, a triple to right. She scored on Caitlyn Gonzales’ single. Hailey Sculthorp singled, and Perque’s single scored Gonzales. Runnels drove in both with a double off the center field wall, just missing her second home run.
“Too many pop-ups early” Cabrini coach Shannon Austin said of her team’s quiet but fortunate start on offense. “We adjusted as the game went on and hit the ball with more authority.”
Was Cabrini’s young team adjusting to the headiness of its No. 1 seed?
“We kind of mentioned it,” Austin said. “But I don’t think it’s a good idea to dwell on it. I reminded them that at this stage (playoffs) we all start off even.”