Lady Rebels claim 2A state championship

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 3, 2002


RESERVE – The Riverside Academy High School Lady Rebels conquered the Class 2A softball state championship Saturday evening in Sulphur, after watching the title slip past them for the previous five years. Each of those years, the Lady Rebels lost in various stages of the playoffs to the eventual state champion team.

However, this season the Lady Rebels shut out three teams in two days, with the last being Port Barre, 1-0 through nine complete innings, for the championship. Matt White, who is celebrating his fifth-year as Riverside head coach, said he anticipated a pitching duel with Port Barre.

“I knew we had a chance and it’s hard to lose when you don’t give up runs,” said White. He said the team had been having “so much bad luck over the past four years,” they were determined to win the final two games of the season Saturday. “Both teams were ready for the championship game, no matter what.”

Both pitchers allowed four hits, but area star Summer Delaneuville (27-8) provided the ammunition to win the battle, outpitching U.L. Lafayette signee Michelle Bergeaux (24-4).

Delaneuville also won the battle on the offensive side of the ball by beating the high throw to home plate for the winning run in the top of the ninth inning. She first reached second on a double, then advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Mindy Richard. Delaneuville was then waved home when Holly Ocmond hit a fly ball to left field.

Although the Lady Rebels were up by one in extra innings, they still had to hold off the top of the Red Devils lineup through the bottom of the inning. Riverside closed out the game by facing four batters with only one single, then broke out into jubilation over their triumph with a pile on the mound.

Leading up to the championship match, the Lady Rebels managed a 2-0 win against Christian Life Friday, then rallied for a 9-0 victory against Sacred Heart of Ville Platte Saturday morning.

“Against Christian Life, I knew one run was going to win that game,” said White. Sacred Heart beat us 1-0 in 12 innings last year, so we jumped all over them.”

Riverside gained Friday’s semifinal win without a hit against Louisiana College signee Jennifer Brewer (24-5). Brewer struck out 13 Lady Rebels, but Delaneuville spoke up for her team with 14 strike outs and gave up only two hits. The Crusaders crushing defense cracked and leaked five errors, beginning in the fourth inning, when Delaneuville drove the ball to left field and errors gave her the green light to second. The left fielder’s throw travelled to home, then back into left field when Delaneuville rounded third and into home to score.

The Lady Rebels tacked on their second point in the sixth inning when the Crusaders fumbled the ball and Ashley LeBlanc ran to first base. Richard stepped up and was called out on a bunt, but LeBlanc had reached third base. She continued to home plate when the Crusader throw continued past third base.

The Lady Rebels made up for Friday’s hitless game by mauling Sacred Heart of Ville Platte with nine hits for the 9-0 win. Delaneuville gave up two hits again, while sending 10 batters back with strike outs. She accounted for two runs off a single in the third inning, followed by LeBlanc with two RBIs in the fourth and Meggie Martin with three RBIs in the seventh inning.