On to the playoffs

Kyle Riviere
Ascension Catholic has gone undefeated in district play for four consecutive seasons. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

After another exciting and successful softball regular season in Ascension Parish, it’s finally time for the playoffs.

All teams have the same goal: They want to reach Sulphur for the state tournament and have a chance to bring home a championship.

Two parish teams reached Sulphur last season. They’re hoping for more in 2018.

St. Amant will begin their playoff journey in a very familiar position. They’ll enter the postseason as not just the hottest team in Ascension but one of the hottest teams in the state.

The Lady Gators are currently riding a 16-game winning streak. This includes another perfect run in district play. They’ve now won a phenomenal 62 straight league games.

St. Amant is 29-2 and in line to be a top-five seed in Class 5A, but they want more than just a trip to Sulphur. They want to win it all.

That’s something the Lady Gators haven’t done since 2006. In fact, they haven’t reached the title game since that season.

St. Amant has been tripped up in the quarterfinals for the past two years.

They’re hoping to change that this season. They certainly have the tools to do it.

Sophomore Alyssa Romano has proven to be the best pitcher in the parish and one of the best in the area.

And from the plate, St. Amant has some potent bats with a lineup that contains the likes of LSU signee Taylor Tidwell, UL-Monroe signee Kennedy Page, LSU-Eunice signee Brooke Romano and a multi-year first-team all-district player in Jadyn Rumfellow.

One thing that will help the Lady Gators this year is how battle-tested they’ve been. They won thrillers against the likes of Mount Carmel, West Ouachita, Parkview Baptist and Alexandria.

That hasn’t always been the case. Many years, St. Amant has won the vast majority of their games by blowout. By the time they made it to Sulphur, they weren’t exactly accustomed to having to win close games.

Dutchtown is hoping for the kind of success they had last season, when they pulled off a first-round upset.

They will bring back almost all of their starting lineup from that team. Like St. Amant, they are well tested.

The Lady Griffins played a brutal regular-season schedule. As a result, they did struggle at times. On four separate occasions, they limped through three-game losing streaks.

But with the kind of power they have at the plate, they always have a chance. Hitters like Paige Patterson, Hannah Martin, Skylar Boyd, Baylee Bourgeois and Denae Lowe are all tough outs.

Pitcher Erin Hardy has proven she can be one of the best pitchers in the parish when she’s on. Unfortunately for Hardy, the Lady Griffins have had some defensive breakdowns behind her throughout the year.

East Ascension will make a return to the playoffs in 2018, after going just 9-22 and missing the postseason in head coach Katie Ocmand’s first year.

A young and inexperienced bunch did some growing up this season. It resulted in them winning 18 games.

Erin Nicol has been very productive in both the circle and at the plate for the Lady Spartans.

Jada Goodlow, Brynnen Gautreau and Rachel Ducote have also been top hitters for East Ascension throughout the year.

Ascension Catholic is hoping to make another deep run in Sulphur. The Lady Bulldogs reached the semifinals just two years ago.

They won another district championship in 2018. They haven’t lost a league contest in four seasons.

This year, they have a deep roster that has lots of playoff experience. Some of these veteran leaders include Alicia Canatella, Lauren Landry, Bailey Acosta, Isabelle Abadie and Ceily Grisaffe.

Their pitching staff is the youngest part of the team, but they have continued to see improvement with sophomores Hailee Rome and Emily Beck.

The Ascension Christian Lady Lions will be looking for that elusive first playoff victory next week.

Under first-year head coach George Gutierrez, the team has the pieces they need to get it done.

Maddie Gautreau is a three-year starter in the circle for the Lady Lions, and they’ve been able to get consistent hitting from players like Layla and Lauren Thompson, Hallie Dupre and Skye Fontenot.