Lady Bulldogs fall in semifinals

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 4, 1999

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / May 4, 1999

ALEXANDRIA – Lutcher head softball coach John Bentivegna had a feeling that the Lady Bulldogs’ Class 3A state semifinal game against Kaplan would come down to a freak play.

Bentivegna’s prediction would come true as Kaplan’s Tara Mire scored on a controversial play at the plate in the fifth inning, giving the Lady Pirates a 1-0 victory at the Alexandria Youth Softball Complex Saturday afternoon.

Berwick (32-7) defeated Kaplan, 4-2, in eight innings in the championship game Saturday night to capture the Class 3A title. The Lady Panthers haddefeated Live Oak, 2-0, in the semifinals.

Lutcher, the defending Class 3A state champions, ended its season at 26- 6.

Pitchers Erin Hymel of Lutcher and Lauren Trahan of Kaplan kept the game scoreless through the first four innings. The Lady Pirates threatened inthe second inning as Julie Dubuis walked to lead off the inning. AfterDubuis was forced at second by Kelly Dupuis one out later, Claire Vincent lined a double to left field.

Left fielder Becky Lambert got to the ball and hit Katie Cashio with the cut off. Cashio then threw to the plate with Cindy Guidry making the tagon Dupuis to keep the game scoreless.

Lutcher also had an opportunity in the bottom of the inning. Candice Milletwalked to lead off the inning, went to second on a wild pitch and advanced to third on a bunt by Michelle Roussel. But Trahan then got Cashio to pop upher bunt attempt and struck out Toni Riley to end the inning.

Kaplan put runners in scoring position in each of the third and fourth innings but Hymel was able to work out of the jams each time.

Mire opened the fifth with a single up the middle. Guidry then caughtShanna Sellers bunt attempt and Hymel struck out Trahan looking.

Heather Stelly kept the inning alive with a double into the left field corner. Lambert again got to the ball and fired it in to the infield as Mirerounded third.

Guidry dropped the throw to the plate as Mire slid in but picked it up and made the tag. Mire was initially called out but after the two umpiresconferred, it was ruled that Mire had reached around Guidry to tag the plate before Guidry had tagged her.

“I never saw her touch the plate,” Bentivegna said. “The umpire said shetouched the plate after the catcher dropped the ball.

“I had a feeling it would come down to something like that; It would be a freak-looking play to win the ball game,” Bentivegna added.

Hymel (20-6) came back to get Dubuis on a grounder back to the mound to end the inning. Hymel then retired the side in order in each of the finaltwo innings. In the game, she allowed five hits while walking three andstriking out 10.

Cashio led off the bottom of the fifth with a single to left but was left stranded as Trahan struck out Riley and Breeze Vicknair and got Hymel to pop up to first. Trahan then retired the final six batters of the game topreserve the win.

Trahan (19-3) finished with a one hitter, walking two and striking out nine.

“We had to score one run and we didn’t,” Bentivegna said. “Their pitcherhad a great ball game. She was one of the most dominant pitchers we haveseen.”But Bentivegna said he did not want the loss to overshadow the season his team had, one that included a District 10-3A title and its fifth trip to the state tournament in six years.

“We wanted to win the state championship but we still had a great season,” Bentivegna said.”

Lutcher 1, Abbeville 0

ALEXANDRIA – Jenee Weber tripled on the game’s first pitch and scored on Becky Lambert’s sacrifice bunt, giving Lutcher a 1-0 victory over Abbeville in the state quarterfinals Friday afternoon.

Lutcher (26-5) advanced to the semifinals where it played Kaplan, a 7-6 winner over Mansfield in eight innings. Abbeville, a wild card, ended itsseason at 14-20.

Erin Hymel (20-5) went the distance for the Lady Bulldogs, giving up one hit and three hits while striking out 11. Abbeville’s April Boden also keptLutcher in check, pitching a two-hitter.

Weber led off the game with a liner into the right-center field gap for a stand-up triple. Lambert then laid down a bunt and was throw out at firstby Boden with Weber beating the throw home.

Abbeville had its best chance to score in the sixth. With two outs, JadeBernard reached on an error and Kim Stoute followed with a double along the left field line. Lambert hustled to cut off the ball, keeping Bernard atthird. Maria Romero followed with a pop up into short left with shortstopMichelle Roussel racing back to make the catch.

After a lead-off walk to Shanoa Evans in the bottom of the seventh, Hymel retired the final three hitters to preserve the win.

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