A year ago, Catholic-Pointe Coupee softball coach Lauren Doucet had the word “Finish” printed on her team’s T-shirts as a not-so-subtle reminder to complete the season with a Class 1A state title.
The Hornets won the 1A title in 2013, and this year’s T-shirts again offer a cautionary reminder. The front says “Make It Reign.” On the back there’s a bull’s-eye, surrounded by a rife scope.
“Obviously, you can’t say forget about last season,” Doucet said. “But we’ve made a point to tell the girls that 2013 is over, and this is a new year. Now, we’re one of those teams that everybody is going after.”
Expect top-seeded CHSPC (23-3) to remember those lessons while hosting No. 16 Houma Christian (15-12) in a regional playoff set for 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Woodmen of the World Park in New Roads.
“When you look at our girls, I don’t know if you can tell we won a state title last year,” Doucet said. “There have been some challenges. All three outfielders graduated, so we had to change our lineup.
“We’ve had some injuries. But they’ve managed to stay focused. We remind them to go out and play. And to execute.”
The Hornets are the only Baton Rouge area team scheduled to play Thursday. The majority of the area’s regional-round games are set for Friday. Winners advance to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association State Softball Tournament set for May 2-3 in Sulphur.
Doucet’s squad features pitcher Ryann Bizette (18-1), who helped lead last year’s title charge. When Bizette was sidelined for more than two weeks with an injury, Lauren David, Karly Bello and Abbey Devillier handled the pitching, facing several district opponents and some tough nondistrict foes.
“We scheduled up so we could play a lot of the larger schools,” Doucet said. “Before the season, I told the team our record wouldn’t be very good because of that. I tell them now I’m happy to admit I was wrong on that.”
But the three losses have provided notable reminders. The Hornets lost 16-1 to District 5-1A rival Sacred Heart-Ville Platte and 8-0 to defending 3A state champion Brusly late last month. CHSPC’s other loss, 6-0 to Class 5A Pineville, came last week in a playoff tuneup game. In between, they avenged the loss to SHVP with a 13-0 win.
“After the Sacred Heart game, I asked our other coaches if there was anything we could have done differently,” Doucet said. “And they said no. Sacred Heart took it to us that day, and we played well for six innings against Brusly. You learn from those things.”
Katelyn Bellelo (second base), David (first base) and Phoebe Fabre (center field) are the top hitters for CHSPC.
This game is another chance for the Hornets to see how much they’ve learned.
“We know (Houma Christian) is a solid team,” Doucet said. “We need to be solid and take care of doing what we do.”