Ascension Catholic softball ready to make title run

Kyle Riviere
Julia Beck went 19-3 last season with a 1.23 ERA. Photo by Chuck Montero.

Despite an 18-3 record and district championship, the Ascension Catholic Lady Bulldogs looked prime to make it back to the state title game in 2015. However, just as quickly as they got to Sulphur, they were sent back to Donaldsonville.

Ascension Catholic was upset by eventual state champion Central Catholic in the quarterfinals by a margin of 1-0. The loss ended what looked to be a special season for the Lady Bulldogs.

Now, a year later, many of the starters on that Ascension Catholic team return, and they're looking for more than just a return to Sulphur. They're envisioning their first state title run since 2000.

The 2015 team had their moments. They went undefeated in district play and finished with an 18-3 regular-season record. That included 14 straight victories to complete their schedule.

Their only three losses came to teams in higher classifications--Parkview Baptist (3A), Vandebilt Catholic (4A) and Destrehan (5A).

They earned the No. 4 seed and cruised through the first two rounds of the playoffs--pitching two shutouts. They beat Ecole Classique, 15-0, in the opening round and then trounced South Cameron, 10-0, in regionals before being dealt an early exit

This season, the Lady Bulldogs will once again have a team talented enough to reach Sulphur.

It will all start in the circle with the return of senior ace pitcher Julia Beck. Not only was Beck named last year's District 8-1A MVP, but she was also a first-team All-State selection as she went a dominating 19-3 with a miniscule 1.23 ERA.

To go with Ascension Catholic's edge in the circle and in the field, the Lady Bulldogs bring back some of their best hitters.

They lost some all-district performers in Aimee Prejeant, Ali Richard and Maggie Blanchard.

However, they will return their best hitter in senior Rae 'Shaun Melancon. Melancon was a first-team all-district and All-State selection last season as she hit .439 with five home runs and 30 RBIs.

Joining Melancon will be two more first-team all-district players from 2015 in Bailey Acosta and Ceily Grisaffe.

Returning second-team all-district players include Lauren Landry, Alicia Cantella and Isabelle Abadie.

The Lady Bulldogs got their 2016 season off to a tremendous start.

In their opener, they hosted 3A power Parkview Baptist. Not only is Parkview a higher classification, but the Lady Eagles are serious contenders this season. Last year, they reached the state quarterfinals before being edged out by North Vermillion, 11-9.

Ascension Catholic showed their great potential last Thursday as they beat Parkview, 3-2.

The Lady Bulldogs then followed it up with another victory over a 2015 3A playoff team in Berwick.