In a St. Patrick’s Day showdown between the top two teams in the District 6-5A softball standings, the Slidell Tigers didn’t need the luck of their Kelly Green jerseys.
An 11-hit attack by Slidell, coupled with Tamara Larche’s four-hit pitching, more than did the trick Thursday afternoon against Fontainebleau.
The Tigers defeated the visiting Bulldogs 11-1 in a game called after six innings because of the mercy rule. Slidell (7-4, 4-0) remained undefeated in district with the win. Fontainebleau (8-4, 4-2) has lost four of its past six games.
Larche, a senior right-hander, was the catalyst. She allowed only one runner past second base after giving up a run in the top of the first. Larche (7-4) also went 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs.
“It feels good to be undefeated in district,” Larche said. “We knew this would be a hard game, because Fontainebleau is always tough. So I just wanted to pitch my best for my team. I think we did a great job.”
Alexis Fremin knocked in Brenae Bergeron on a double in the first for Fontainebleau. But Slidell answered in the bottom of the inning with a single by Allison Vincent and an RBI triple by Qimmah Burdine. Burdine scored on a wild pitch to put the Tigers ahead 2-1.
Slidell increased its lead with five runs in the third inning, including Larche’s deep blast to left-center field. Angel Nikolas, Dari Foret, and Riley Hrdliska singled in the inning, and Leigha Suarez tripled to score two runners.
Larche scored in the fifth when she singled, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on an infield single by Suarez to make the score 8-1.
The Tigers put the game away in the sixth when Gaby Aguilar struck out swinging, but reached first base on a passed ball. Vincent then reached on an infield single, and Burdine reached on an error. Larche ended the inning with a 2-run single to center.
“(Larche) has been our silent leader all year,” Slidell coach Robin Hrdliska said. “She goes out and plays her game and does her job.”
The significance of the win over Fontainebleau was not lost on the Slidell coach, either.
“This is a game that for the past several years, it’s been a really hard game for us,” Hrdliska said. “The team met the challenge today. They stepped up to the plate.”
Vincent and Suarez both went 2-for-3 for Slidell. Fremin went 2-for-3 for Fontainebleau.
Fontainebleau coach Chris Nelson was not pleased with the Bulldogs’ performance, and let them know it after the game.
“We have to have the mentality that we are lucky to show up and play softball every day,” he said. “That’s the way we have to act, that’s the way we have to approach our business. We’re getting to the point now where we have to make a change and make a metamorphosis. I look at it as my job to step up and get that out of them, because if I’m allowing that (kind of) effort, then that’s my fault.”