Back to Sulphur!
When you have one goal in mind there is nothing that will deter you from achieving it. The no. 5 Ascension Catholic High softball team showed that on April 24 when it beat no. 12 South Cameron 10-0 in the second round of the LHSAA 1A playoffs at home. The game was delayed an hour and a half due to severe weather, and while the teams waited for the storm to clear they did their best to stay pumped out proud to be there.
During the delay, the two teams had a friendly pep rally between themselves in the locker rooms and during the storm met together for a moment of prayer. Of course prayer changes things, and soon after the “amen” the storms moved on and it was game time.
That’s when the teams went from smiling and laughing with one another, to instantly seriousness.
Ascension Catholic head coach Brandy Manry said a few weeks ago the team had a meeting before the playoffs began and the coaching staff asked two questions:
“How well can you focus and how well can you eliminate distractions,” Manry said. “We had a lot of distractions today and they could’ve let it get to them and turn the game around for them but they didn’t. They eliminated the distractions and focused, and did everything we told them to do.”
It was Ascension Catholic’s junior pitcher Julia Beck who heated things up and caused the most tension between the two teams as she retired the first three batters she faced at the plate. Beck finished the night with a complete no-hitter including 12 strikeouts and one walk through 15 batters at the plate.
It only took five innings for the no. 5 Bulldogs to return to the LHSAA Fast Pitch 56 in Sulphur for the second year in a row under the leadership of Beck.
No. 12 South Cameron (13-7) failed to get a single bat on a Beck pitch, and head coach Kellie McKoin said the team wasn’t patient enough.
“She has a lot of movement on her pitches and we just weren’t being patient enough at the plate to get a hit,” McKoin said after the game.
Offensively the Lady Bulldogs were flawless led by senior outfielder Aimee Prejeant and junior outfielder Rae’Shaun Malancon. Prejeant led the Bulldogs off with a double base hit and Malancon highlighted the bottom of the first inning with two runs batted in. Prejeant finished the night 2-2 at the plate, while Malancon finished 3-3, including five runs batted in.
“They just hit the ball really well and are a good team,” McKoin said. “And we made some errors and mistakes.”
In the second inning the Bulldogs turned it on offensively and pulled away with 7-0 lead. From there the momentum would build and it was all clear Ascension Catholic would return to Sulphur.
Manry said the team learned “that attitude affects everything you do on the field."
“When you have a positive attitude and work as a team good things happen,” Manry said.
Manry added, “It feels good to get (to Fast Pitch 56) again but we want a different outcome this time, we want to be holding up the first place trophy. We have three more games to go and three more games to win.”
No. 5 Ascension Catholic will take on no. 4 Central Catholic in the quarterfinals round on May 1 at Frasch Park – Field no. 18 on Friday, May 1 at 12 p.m.