SULPHUR — John Curtis senior pitcher Katie Brignac threw her 10th one-hitter of the season on Friday, the next-to-the last day of what has been a splendid high school career.
There wasn’t a tougher one, at least mentally anyway, than this one.
Brignac was called several times for illegal pitches (crow-hopping), but overcame it to shut down Evangel Christian for a 3-1 victory in the Class 3A quarterfinals of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s State Softball Tournament at Frasch Softball Complex.
“I guess I was (doing it) since they were calling it,” said Brignac, who was called for the infraction over a dozen times. “It is what it is. I just tried to fight through it and do what I could. I wasn’t trying to focus on that. I was trying to focus more on the batter and pitching a strike and making a swing. So then they would call it, and I would get frustrated. But my teammates helped me a lot. They had my back the whole game, and I thank them so much. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Brignac went the distance and finished with seven strikeouts to push her season total to 272. She was called for an illegal pitch with a full count three times, which would have given her three more.
Instead, they ended up accounting for three of her four walks.
The only hit she allowed was an infield single to Carolina Sanchez in the sixth inning.
“It says a lot about the kind of person she is,” Curtis coach Jerry Godfrey said. “She settled down and didn’t melt down.”
Curtis (28-2), which won the 2A crown last season, advances to Saturday’s semifinals to play Notre Dame, an 8-2 winner over Buckeye.
The championship game is set for 7 p.m.
It will be the final day in a Curtis uniform for Brignac and her five senior teammates.
“Before this week, I was telling myself we have three more games,” said Brignac. “But before this game I was thinking this could be our last game. We knew today that there was no tomorrow if we didn’t win.
I am trying to be more focused on the game than thinking about it being the last day.”
Senior shortstop Brooke Lee, who will join Brignac at Memphis, went 3-for-3.
“It’s the end of the year, so you know any moment can be your last,” said Lee. “I am so proud of my team for overcoming all the adversity.
“Evangel is our rival in softball and football and everything. The schools know each other well. We knew coming in it wouldn’t be a blowout, and they weren’t going to lay down. We did what we had to do.”
Lee scored the game’s first run after starting the first inning with her first of three singles. Rachel Brockhaus drove Lee in with an RBI single.
Evangel answered in the third, scoring despite not getting a hit.
Shelby Salley walked on one of Brignac’s illegal pitches and stole second and eventually scored on an illegal pitch.
But Curtis regained the lead for good in the fourth.
Rebecca Dill started the inning with a single. She moved to second on Peyton Picniolo’s ground out. Jenna Borderlon then hit an RBI single.
The Patriots added an insurance run on a throwing error on the Evangel catcher.
Payton Adams and Peyton Picniolo had two hits each for Curtis.
Evangel finished 22-10.
“This was a tough game, but I kept telling Katie to focus on the pitch and to trust the defense,” Lee said. “I told her we had her back and to do what she needs to do and we will do what we need to do.”