The Evangel Eagles got their portion of the Pitch Perfect Tournament off to a rousing start with an 11-6 win over perennial state playoff participant St. Joseph’s on Friday night on Broadacres Blvd.
“We haven’t been giving up that many runs the past few games,” Evangel coach Sher Mueller said. “We gave up a few tonight, so it was good we had some run security.”
Senior pitcher McKenzie Ashby didn’t have her best stuff, but still managed to keep the hard-hitting Lady Red Stickers at bay for most of the evening. She scattered eight hits and walked four over the seven innings, while running her record to 4-1.
“We came out really strong in the early going, but as the innings went on it felt like we started thinking we had it in the bag,” Ashby said. “But we were able to pull it out.”
The Pitch Perfect event features Evangel, Byrd and Haughton playing a round-robin competition against St. Joe, Brusly and Barbe. Haughton topped Barbe 12-2 on Friday, while Byrd lost 5-0 to Brusly.
St. Joseph’s (3-9) has had a rough start to the year, playing a schedule that might have been too strong for a team that lost a lot of talent off last year’s team.
“We have a young team with young pitching that we are trying to develop for the future,” St. Joe coach Billy Stears said. “It’ll be good for us in the long run to face teams like we’re facing this weekend.”
The Lady Eagles (8-2) came out pounding the ball in the first inning off starting pitcher Abbie Gilbert. The youngster faced six batters without getting an out and was lifted for Morgan Miller before Evangel’s Brittany Taylor stepped in. Faith Miletello, Baylee Shephard, Ashby and Carolina Sanchez cracked back-to-back hits, including a triple by Ashby, to bolt to a 6-0 advantage before Miller got out of the inning.
The Red Stickers answered with four runs in the top of the second after a double by Miller, along with singles by Emily Anzaldua and Nicole Vermalean. Vermalean had two RBIs in the frame as the Baton Rouge visitors pulled within 6-4.
Evangel extended its lead in the bottom of the second a walk, an error and a hit batter set the stage for a two-RBI single to center by Sanchez. The Lady Eagles moved in front 10-4 in the third when Kayla Calhoun was hit by a pitch, Miletello reached on an error and an Ashby single plated another run.
The visitors added a run in the fifth after an RBI single by Miller scored Gilbert. The Lady Eagles answered in their half after Shelby Salley reached on an error and Shephard ripped an offering to left for the run-scoring single.