In a game that featured more twists than a Rubik’s Cube convention, Evangel’s Kayla Calhoun singled home pinch runner Blakley Cangemi in the bottom of the ninth to send the Lady Eagles to the state tournament with a dramatic 6-5 victory over visiting St. Louis Catholic Saturday in Class 3A second-round playoff action at Dan Moreman Field.
The No. 8-seeded Lady Eagles will face top-seeded John Curtis Friday at noon at Frasch Park in Sulphur.
“Wow, what a game!” said Calhoun, still trying to catch her breath after her hit sent her teammates and the Evangel faithful into a post-game frenzy. “I’m so thankful that I could do something like this to help my team get to state.”
Calhoun’s clutch hit, her third of the contest, provided the final outcome to a game that featured gritty performances from both starting pitchers, spectacular defense from both teams, colossal home runs, and drama normally reserved for the biggest Hollywood blockbusters.
“What an effort, on both sides,” said first-year Evangel coach Meghan Fisher. “St. Louis came in here with a very determined group and fought hard all the way. We had a little more than they did (Saturday).”
Evangel’s Carolina Sanchez, a Louisiana Tech signee, won her 20th game of the season on the mound. It was her mammoth lead-off homer in the bottom of the sixth, however, that ignited her team to rally from two runs down and send the game into extra innings.
“I was frustrated because I felt like we were playing well but they were just playing a little better,” said Sanchez. “I wanted to do something to get my teammates pumped up, but I wasn’t trying to hit it out. I just caught it real good.”
Brooke Buckman, running for catcher Olivia Sessions who had walked, scored four batters later on Liz Adams’ RBI groundout to knot the game at 3.
Calvary tops Oak Hill in Class 2A regional
The Calvary Lady Cavaliers made school history on Saturday afternoon by advancing to the LHSAA Class 2A state tournament for the first time after a 3-0 victory over Oak Hill.
Freshman pitcher Sarah Chamberlain (19-4) tossed a 1-hitter, while Marissa Reed and Kenzie Glover pounded RBI doubles.
“We are very, very excited. It’s our first trip to the state tournament in school history and my first trip as a coach,” said 25-year-old Calvary coach Tiffany Bruton. “Ever since we lost in the playoffs last year, we have been working to get to Sulphur.”
Calvary (26-5) got all the runs it needed in the fourth when Lizzy Lafisca and Brianna Sample walked, setting up Glover’s RBI double. In the seventh inning, Mallory LaLena singled, Tiffany Williams reached on an error and both runners scored on Reed’s smack.
The Lady Cavs left 11 runners stranded, but capitalized on Chamberlain’s strong outing.