ST. AMANT — It was “See it and smash it” for St. Amant’s as they opened their Class 5A playoff run against Denham Springs on their home field Tuesday.
The Gators pounded 11 extra base hits, including six home runs on their way to a 15-6 win in a first-round softball playoff game.
Four players homered for seventh-seed St. Amant, including two with two homers apiece. Shortstop Taylor Tidwell led the way with two, including a two-out grand slam in the fifth inning and a two-run blast in the sixth. Winning pitcher Kourtney Gremillion followed Tidwell with a solo shot in the sixth.
Left fielder Abby McKey started the home run derby in the third when she and catcher Taylor Trabeaux went back-to-back with solo homers, and McKey hit a two-run blast an inning later.
“A lot of times you give up six runs in a softball game, and you’re on the short end of the stick,” St. Amant coach Scott Nielson said. “The good news was that after they went up 2-0 in the first (on a two-run homer by Bailey Hughes), we answered it. It’s so important to answer because a good team like Denham can swing the bats all day long.
“We let them hang around, but our kids were resilient and did a great job at the plate. I couldn’t be prouder of them,” he said.
Hughes homered again in the top of the fifth to pull the Yellow Jackets within 5-3. St. Amant loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning on an error, a double by Dorcas Deverteuil and a walk to Renee Fermin. After Jadyn Rumfellow lined out to second base, Tidwell uncorked her grand slam, Gremillion singled and McKey launched her second homer to widen the lead to 11-3.
“When (St. Amant) is on, they hit anything we throw,” DSHS coach David Bourque said.
“Last year their shortstop (Tidwell) beat us with a home run in the eighth. I told our girls they were the best hitting team we’d face this year.
“We started out good, but we just couldn’t get out of the fifth. When you play Coach Nielson’s teams, you can’t make any mistakes. They’ll make you pay.”
The game marked the end of a seven-year run as head coach for Bourque, who leaves with a 230-80 record, six straight playoff appearances, a state runner-up finish in 5A and coach of the year recognition.
“It’s all about the girls I’ve been blessed to coach,” he said. “And I’m going to spend time with my family and go fishing,” he said. “You might see me at (Bass Pro Shop) just looking at T-shirts.”
Bourque plans to remain at DSHS as an athletic trainer and said he has plans to build up the school’s sports medicine program.
As for Neilson, he’ll lead his team into a regional matchup with Hahnville.
“I told my seniors before this game the only guarantee is one more game. And now our guarantee is still one more game. I don’t know if there’s a certain number of wins you have in the tank, but I know at this stage it’s survive and advance.”