If Evangel senior Sarah Lafitte decides to take up pool as a profession, she managed a good start on it Friday night in the second round of the LHSAA Class 2A state playoffs.
Lafitte took a ricochet off third baseman Ryann Cisco, fell to her knees and fired a strike to Lady Eagles first baseman Brittany Taylor for the second to last out in Evangel’s 7-4 win over Catholic of New Iberia at the Dan Moreman field. The play didn’t save the day, but it was symbolic of the Lady Eagles play this season.
It’s taken some gutsy plays for coach Sherilyn Mueller’s club to advance to Sulphur for the fifth consecutive season.
“I was just thinking ‘get the out, get the out, get the out. We’ve gotta get to state,'” Lafitte said. “We’re so excited, so we have to work our butts off for the next few days.”
Evangel advances to play Many, a 2-0 winner over Menard, on Friday.
The Lady Eagles (22-6) were cruising through four innings with a 3-0 lead behind some stout pitching from Carolina Sanchez, when the wheels suddenly came off. With one out, the Lady Panthers (16-12) put together a pair of singles and Shelby Broussard reached on an error. A sacrifice by Rayner LeBlanc scored Madison Guidroz. Two more Lady Eagles on wild throws allowed Jamie Freyou, Broussard and Taylor Jeanlewis to score and give the visitors a 4-3 advantage.
But the Lady Eagles responded in the bottom of the fifth when Baylee Shephard singled, McKenzie Ashby doubled, followed by walks to Sanchez and Brittany Taylor. After a Lafitte single, Evangel had clawed to a 6-4 lead.
“After the one bad inning, when we made a bad call to go to third base when we should have just gotten an out, our team got fired back up and had the confidence to come back and get our runs,” Mueller said. “Getting them back right away was huge. If we hadn’t scored in our half, we might have started getting down.”
Sanchez then buckled down, allowing one harmless single in the final two innings, to send Catholic to a third consecutive loss to Evangel, including a second one this season by an identical 7-4 score.
“I thought we played real well the entire game, including a solid defensive game,” Catholic coach Jeri Beck said. “My girls gave it everything they had today, but we hit balls back at them.”
Evangel pounded 10 hits off Freyou, who also walked six batters.
“I felt like we needed to keep scoring every inning because I knew they were capable of putting a couple of runs up in an inning,” Mueller said.
Ashby went 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles, while Taylor was 2-for-2 with three runs scored.