St. Amant High softball coach Scott Nielson offered what may be an appropriate quip about his team’s first-round Class 5A softball playoff game.
“You know, there could be a field goal or maybe a late two-point conversion involved,” Nielson said. “Both teams can hit the ball. We’ll have to see what happens.”
The seventh-seeded Gators (24-5) take a 19-game winning streak into a Tuesday playoff game with No. 26 Denham Springs High (12-16). Game time is 5 p.m. at St. Amant.
There is plenty of history between the schools. St. Amant beat Denham Springs in back-to-back 5A title games in 2005 and 2006. Denham Springs was the 5A runner-up in 2011 and 2014.
But the game that helps highlight Tuesday’s first-round action features two teams that have taken opposite paths. St. Amant was 4-5 before starting its winning streak last month as District 5-5A play began. Denham Springs has lost five straight in the competitive 4-5A race.
“This is a chance for us to get things going in the right direction,” Denham Springs coach David Bourque said. “We graduated five seniors last year and it’s been an adjustment.
“We can hit the ball, but where we’ve struggled is making plays in the field. No doubt St. Amant will hit the ball and test us. It’s good to have another chance.”
Denham Springs is hitting over .300 on the season. Bailey Hughes helps lead the Yellow Jackets with a .390 average 28 RBIs and 15 stolen bases. Freshman Rayne Minor has a team-high .550 average and 15 stolen bases. The status of slugger Jayden Accardo, who has 13 home runs, is uncertain, Bourque said.
Pitcher Allison Irby is 8-8, but has a 1.75 ERA for DSHS and will face a St. Amant squad that is hitting .402.
Louisiana-Lafayette signee Kourtney Gremillion is hitting .620 with a team-high 10 home runs and 54 RBIs. Gremillion also may get the start on the mound. LSU commitment Taylor Tidwell is batting .505 with eight home runs and 41 RBIs, while Abby McKey is at .493 with seven home runs and 36 RBIs.
LHSAA ‘spins’ it
Nielson confirmed St. Amant was one of the teams that got its bats checked last week by the LHSAA before a nondistrict game at Riverside Academy. The bats for both teams were checked by LHSAA personnel and umpires using a device colleges use before NCAA tournaments.
The LHSAA also checked the bats of several other schools after receiving reports of teams using illegal bats. LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine said school bats and personal bats for all schools were checked and none were found to be illegal.
Spencer, Eagles roll
PARKVIEW BAPTIST 14, IOWA 0: Taylor Spencer tossed a no-hitter and top-seeded PBS (25-8) pounded out 14 hits in first-round game in Class 3A.
Audrey Greely finished 3-for-3 with three RBIs, while Hannah Adams was 2-for-3 with four RBIs. Nicky Dawson was 2-for-3 with three runs.