Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 22, 1998

Michael Kiral / L’Observateur / April 22, 1998

LUTCHER – St. Charles Catholic coach Teri Hruska wanted to play Lutcherin the last game of the season Monday afternoon because she knew the Lady Bulldogs would play the caliber of offense, defense and pitching her team would see in the playoffs later this week.

The Lady Bulldogs didn’t disappoint as pitchers Erin Hymel and Michelle Roussel combined on a three-hit shutout for a 4-0 victory. Hymel pitchedfour innings, giving up one hit while striking out three and walking none in improving to 17-2 on the season. Roussel finished up, allowing two hitswhile striking out one and walking one.

St. Charles Catholic pitcher Marci Martin (15-6) kept the Lady Bulldogs incheck, holding them to six hits while striking out four.

Lutcher, winners of District 10-3A with a 9-0 record and 20-3 overall, will host a wildcard Thursday afternoon in the bi-district playoffs. St.Charles Catholic, runners-up in District 9-2A with a 7-2 record and 19-9 overall, travel to Buras Thursday. Buras finished second to Newman inDistrict 10-2A.

Hymel and Martin dominated the first two innings before Kristen Clement opened the top of the third with a single and went to second on an errant pick-off throw by catcher April Benn. But Hymel stranded her there,striking out Courtney Vicknair, getting Sarah Weber to pop up to first and Alisha Reine to ground out to Benn.

St. Charles Catholic began its rally with one out in the bottom of theinning. Kim St. Pierre struck out but reached as catcher Kori Guillory’sthrow went past first. Christy Melancon followed with a single to rightand Jenee Weber reached as St. Pierre beat out the force at third on hergrounder to short.

Mitzi Hebert brought in St. Pierre with a fly ball to right. Brandi Neal thenlined a shot off the mound. Reine made a nice play getting to the ball inthe hole but had no play at first as Melancon scored. Benn followed with afly ball to right that glanced off Vicknair’s glove, allowing Weber to score and giving Lutcher a 3-0 lead.

The Lady Bulldogs added a run in the bottom of the fifth as Weber singled to right and came in to score on a double by Neal.

Roussel retired the first five batters she faced before Reine lined a single to left with two outs in the sixth.

The Lady Comets attempted a rally with two outs in the seventh as Martin walked and Jessie Zeringue singled up the middle. But after both runnersmoved up on passed ball, Roussel got Clement to ground back to the mound to end the game.

“Defensive wise, we are doing a real good job,” Lutcher coach John Bentivegna said of his team’s play heading into the postseason. “We arekeeping our errors down. All in all, it has been a good year. Our pitchingstaff has been doing a pretty good job. Offensively, we need to step it up anotch.”Hruska said Monday’s game was a learning experience for her team, allowing them to get ready for playoff competition.

“We wanted to get playoff ready and see good defense, pitching and offense” Hruska said. “I knew Lutcher would show us all those things. Wewere trying to get intense playoff competition and Lutcher gave us that today.”

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