One word could describe the way Destrehan's softball team earned its 1-0 upset over Mandeville Friday afternoon: unbelievable.
The Wildcats and the Skippers were both scoreless, and it appeared as if they would be on their way to extra innings.
Destrehan had runners on second and third with one out. Mandeville pitcher Grace O’Berry threw a breaking ball, seemingly a standard pitch that would move things on their way. Then the strange set in as Destrehan’s second base runner, Tyler Oubre, took off toward third while, Gia Zeringue stood still on third, causing a confused reaction from the crowd and the press box. When Oubre reached third, she immediately turned back toward second.
Mandeville’s catcher threw the ball to shortstop in an attempt to tag Oubre out, but she slid back to second and was called safe. Lost in all of the confusion while the attention was on Oubre, Zeringue took off toward home, scoring a run with a steal. That was all the Wildcats would need.
With the end of the pitchers' duel and the craziness of the seventh inning, the 23rd-seeded Wildcats pulled off a stunning upset of the 10th-seeded Skippers to advance to the regional round of the 5A playoffs.
At the time of the play, it appeared as if the run was scored after a mental mistake ended up in Destrehan’s favor. Destrehan coach Kenneth Montz said after the game that the play was in fact a designed trick play.
“It was a trick play we run,” he said. “We’ve run that many times. We just tried to put some pressure on their catcher and forced her to make a decision on whether to get rid of the ball or not. You’ll see other teams try to do that between first and second we just happened to try it between second and third. We beat Dutchtown on the same play in the seventh inning on Saturday so it’s a play that’s worked for us."
Strong pitching by O’Berry and Oubre was the story except at the end. O’Berry surrendered just three hits while striking out seven, while Oubre gave up three hits while striking out 11.
“Destrehan doesn’t get to say we got to the second round of the playoffs very often,” said Oubre. “I’m so honored to be a part of a team that’s done so.”
Mandeville may have been the victim of an upset this year, but coach Kimberly Nunez was optimistic as her team loses just two seniors after this season.
“I’m extremely sad to see these two seniors go because I’ve been with them all four of their years. We lost this game because we were young. We had a freshman catcher. We couldn’t hit today so this isn’t on her, but that just shows how young we are. Hopefully next year this experience will pay off for us.”