From the Sidelines

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 3, 2000

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / May 3, 2000

As Lutcher went into the seventh inning of the Class 3A semifinal Saturday afternoon trailing Teurlings Catholic, 12-1, its fans implored the team not to go down without a fight.

The Lady Bulldogs didn’t and their determination over those final three outs was typical of both theirs and Hahnville’s performance at the state tournament in Alexandria this past weekend. Both came home earlier thanthey wanted to but both came home winners nonetheless.

Neither team was widely expected to be in Alexandria when the season open.

Both were relatively young teams. Lutcher had just two seniors – Toni Rileyand Breeze Vicknair – on its roster while Hahnville had just four – Kelly Landeche, Erin Crisham, Fallon Cancienne and Colleen Lockhart – in its starting lineup against Baker Friday. Of those four, only Crisham had seenextensive playing time the last time the Lady Tigers made it to the quarterfinals, in 1997.

But both teams grew up in a hurry to win their respective districts and advance to the playoffs. Both shook off playoff jitters to romp past theirfirst two opponents to make it to Alexandria.

Once at the Alexandria Youth Softball Complex, Hahnville had to go up against one of the best pitchers in the state in Baker’s Lindsey Meadows. “TheFabulous Baker Girl” the Alexandria Town Talk called her and she lived up to that nickname, striking out 13 batters and allowing just three hits.

But the Lady Tigers, behind Cancienne, held their own in the game. Canciennenearly matched Meadows, allowing five hits while striking out two. Only two ofthe hits, a single by Robin Penkley in the fourth and one by Katherine Achee in the fifth, reached the outfield.

Trailing 3-0 going into the seventh, Hahnville refused to go down easily. Withtwo outs, Lindsay Yochim lined a single to left. Dixi Dufrene struck out butreached as the third strike got past the catcher with Yochim going to third.

Yochim would be caught off third to end the game but the Lady Tigers had shown that they belonged and would be a favorite to be back again next season.

That evening, Lutcher would also face an ace in Parkview’s Crista Miller.

Miller allowed just one baserunner through the first four innings as her team took a 1-0 lead.

But Lady Bulldog ace Carlie Humphries, returning to where she had helped lead the Alexandria Dixie Ponytails to the 1997 World Series, kept her team in the game, giving up just one hit over that time. Lutcher tied the game inthe fifth on singles by Breeze Vicknair and Lindsey Louque and won it in the seventh as Michelle Roussel reached on a wild pitch on a strikeout and scored on Tiffany Arceneaux’s double.

Teurlings Catholic, which went on to defeat Notre Dame for the Class 3A title, would end the Lady Bulldogs’ dreams the next day in the semifinals. Buteven trailing 12-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh, the Lady Bulldogs refused to give in. Humphries and Kassie Waguespack doubled and Toni Rileysingled to drive in two runs before the Lady Rebels closed the door.

But like Hahnville, Lutcher had proven that it definitely belonged. And bothshowed that while at the end of Saturday’s games, there could have been only seven champions, that didn’t mean that others could not have come home as winners as well.

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