Published 12:00 am Friday, April 10, 1998

Michael Kiral / L’Observateur / April 10, 1998

LUTCHER – The Lutcher Lady Bulldogs moved a step closer to clinching their second consecutive district title with a 12-3 victory over

Plaquemine Wednesday afternoon.

With the victory, the Lady Bulldogs improved to 17-3 overall and 7-0 in District 10-3A play with district games against E.D. White and Donaldsonville remaining. Plaquemine fell to 6-17 overall and 3-4 in district play.

Lutcher played “atom” ball in the early innings, hitting the ball hard but right at the Plaquemine defenders. The Lady Bulldogs threatened in each of the first two innings but Plaquemine starter Cassie Alleman (3-8) was able to pitch out of both jams without allowing a run.

The hits finally started falling for the Lady Bulldogs in the bottom of the third. Jenee Weber led off with a single to center and was sacrificed to second by Mitzi Hebert.

Brandi Neal followed with a grounder to Tiffany Berthelot at short, whose throw to first went into the Plaquemine dugout. Weber was waved home from second with Neal advancing to second. April Benn followed with a double into the left-center field gap, scoring Neal to make it 2-0, Lutcher.

The Lady Bulldogs added to that lead in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Erin Hymel singled to left. Weber followed with a grounder that went through third baseman Laura Frioux into left field. Courtesy runner Michelle Roussel and Weber then came in as Neal lofted a triple into right- center field. Neal came in to score as Berthelot’s throw to third went past Frioux, making the score 5-0.

Plaquemine chipped into the deficit in the top of the fifth. Frioux bunted in front of the plate and reached first as Benn’s throw went past the bag to start the inning. One out later, Nicole Georgetown doubled to right field, sending Frioux to third.

Raven Jenkins brought both runners in by ripping a single past short and advanced to third as the throw home got by Benn. Kristin Maronge closed the gap to 5-3 by singling to left to score Jenkins.

Lutcher got those runs back in their half of the inning as Candice Millet singled to left field. Becky Lambert then popped up a bunt that fell out of the reach of catcher Britni LeBlanc. LeBlanc threw down to second to get Millet but her throw sailed into center field. Jenkins, backing up second, grabbed the errant toss and fired to second, but Danielle Hebert dropped the ball, allowing Millet to slide in safely.

After Katie Cashio walked, Millet came in to score on a wild pitch by Alleman. Kim St. Pierre followed with a double off the left field wall, bringing in Lambert and Cashio to make it 8-3.

Lutcher tacked on four runs in the bottom of the sixth as Benn lined a single to center and courtesy runner Toni Riley stole second.

Millet followed with a single to center and stole second to put runners at second and third with nobody out.

One out later, Hebert dropped Cashio’s liner to load the bases. St. Pierre then hit the big blow of the inning, lining a triple down the left field line to clear the bases. St. Pierre then came in to score as Hymel grounded out to short.

Hymel went the distance for the Lady Bulldogs in running her record to 14- 2 on the season. Hymel allowed nine hits while striking out five and walking one.

“Our defense has been holding strong and our pitching has been excellent,” Lutcher coach John Bentivegna said. “Erin has been putting the ball where we ask her and she is changing speeds effectively.”

The Lady Bulldogs have been pulling away from their opponents early in recent games, so Bentivegna was proud of the way his team responded when Plaquemine pulled close in the fifth inning.

“Plaquemine started hitting the ball and earned the runs they got,” Bentivegna said. “That was the first time in a while we were in a close game. That shook us up but we were able to get back on top of things.”

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