In a game that featured more drama than a segment of Law and Order, No. 1 John Curtis eliminated Evangel 3-1 in Friday’s LHSAA Class 3A quarterfinal contest at Sulphur’s Frasch Park.
The hotly contested affair between the long time rivals and perennial state championship contenders was messy and left much of the media scratching their heads or asking for explanations.
“It was a strange game with so many delays, and so many of them were really odd,” Evangel coach Meghan Fisher said. “We didn’t get to play ball, because it seemed like on every pitch, there was something going on. Anytime there was momentum, it got killed.”
Curtis pitcher Katie Brignac, a Memphis signee, was called for six illegal pitches, giving the Lady Eagles (20-10) extra baserunners in the early going, but she tossed a one-hitter. Evangel senior Carolina Sanchez didn’t have any illegal pitches, but she did allow six hits, while collecting an infield single off her adversary.
In the first three innings, five of the illegal pitches were called plus a runner interference and catcher obstruction calls added to delays. There were also a multitude of umpire conferences by Curtis coach Jerry Godfrey, who seemed to contest every call that didn’t go his way.
“They were stalling a lot trying to get into our heads and I guess it worked,” Evangel catcher Olivia Sessions said. “But we fought hard and we fought to the end. I couldn’t be prouder of my team.”
The Lady Patriots (26-2) put runners in scoring position in every inning, except the sixth, keeping the pressure on Sanchez, a Louisiana Tech-signee. She kept the big Curtis hitters at bay for most of the contest, stranding four runners in the first three innings.
“They didn’t hit Carolina overly hard. They just had some balls that sneaked through,” Fisher said. “We didn’t make any adjustments at the plate. We swung at a lot of pitches we didn’t need to.”
A Brooke Lee single in the first was transferred into a 1-0 Curtis lead on a single by Payton Adams.
But Evangel’s Shelby Salley reached in the third when Brignac was called for an illegal pitch on ball four. Salley stole second and moved to third on another illegal pitch. She scored on Brignac’s third illegal pitch of the inning. Emily Deramus might have scored but Sanchez ran to first on a dropped third strike and collided with Curtis’ Rebecca Dill resulting in the runner interference call. Deramus was called out to end the inning.
The Lady Patriots took charge in the fourth when they put together two singles and capitalized on an Evangel throwing error. Jenna Bordelon’s single was the damaging blow in the frame.
Evangel had one final chance in the sixth when Salley walked to open the frame and moved to second on an illegal pitch. Sanchez singled with one out to put two runners on. But Brignac coaxed a popup and s strikeout to get out of danger.