The Belle Chase softball team got the start it was hoping for in a Class 4A playoff opener.

Gracee Hess went 4-for-4 with four RBIs, Brookelyn Sweeney struck out five and the Cardinals defeated South Lafourche 10-0 in five innings to advance to the second round of the playoffs.

Belle Chase (24-8) got into a bind in the first inning as South Lafourche loaded the bases. Strong defense and good pitching got the Cardinals out of the top of the inning, and their offense responded by scoring five runs in the bottom of the first to set the tone.

“We were kind of iffy here and there,” Belle Chase coach Stephanie Andrews said. “My shortstop made an amazing play to get the first out and then we just rolled with it from there. It was great to be able to have bases loaded and then not let them score at all. Brookelyn did a really good job at the mound which held them, our infield recovered and we closed out that inning with no runs.”

“Honestly I think we’re well-rounded,” Hess said. “As long as we play together and stick together throughout the playoffs I think we got (the state championship) in the bag.”

South Lafourche (11-15) couldn’t muster much on offense after the hot start. Their pitching struggled as well as pitchers Jenna Eymard and Claire Chiasson surrendered a combined 12 hits.

“We’re young,” coach Pete Melancon said. “We had 12 freshman and sophomores this year. But we competed. We put the bind on them hard, loading up the bases the first inning. But we got out of it with no runs which hurt, but we just got to keep our heads up and play ball. Like I said, we’re young and I like the direction that we’re going.”

After scoring five runs in the first inning, Belle Chase kept things up in the second with Brooke Plaisance’s RBI double scoring Felicia Barber. Barber scored four runs and went 4-for 4.

Belle Chase scored three runs in the 3rd inning on Hess’ RBI double that scored Shelby Devine, Riley Sweeney and Barber to put the Cards up 9-0.

After a scoreless fourth, Belle Chase needed just two batters to wrap it up in the fifth. Barber picked up a single, and Hess followed with an RBI double. 

Belle Chase will play the winner of 11th-seeded Beau Chene and 22nd-seeded Plaquemine on Saturday.