Lady Rebels headed to State Tournament

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 25, 2005

Poirrier nearly unhittable in 3-1 victory Thursday afternoon


Sports Editor

RESERVE-They’re in.

That’s all that matters.

It sure was not easy.

With a 3-1 win over Westminster Thursday afternoon, the Riverside Academy softball team advanced to the Class 2A State Tournament which begins Friday afternoon in Sulphur.

In one of the most competitive games of the season, the Lady Rebels fell behind early, surrendering an unearned run in the top of the first inning.

It would not last long however as they immediately answered in the bottom of the first with a pair of runs.

Shortstop Daphne Zimmer reached on a two-out error and stole second. After a walk to rightfielder Jenna St. Amant, Lori Bourgeois lined a shot to second base that was misplayed and allowed both runners to score.

Riverside would push across a single insurance run in the fifth inning to put the game out of reach.

Brooke Bourgeois led off the inning with her second double of the afternoon and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt from Sally Songy.

After a fielder’s choice from Lisa Lambert retired Bourgeois, Lambert proceeded to steal second base and scored on a two-out line shot from first baseman Marci Millet to give the Lady Rebels a 3-1 lead.

Meanwhile in the circle, sophomore sensation Nicole Poirrier must have made Westminster think that they were down 100-1 as opposed to 3-1.

After surrendering a single unearned run in the top of the first, Poirrier proceeded to retire the next 16 batters in a row before allowing a leadoff single in the top of the seventh.

Poirrier was magnificent in the circle, allowing only four hits and striking out two and not walking a batter in the complete-game victory.

Only three years removed from a state championship in 2002, Riverside Head Coach Mickey Roussel said he was happy to see his team return to the state tournament in Sulphur..

“When you have a five-game playoff,” Roussel said. “You have got to be good, you have got to be close and you have got to be tough. You also have to be lucky and today we were all of those.

“We were mentally tough, played great defense.”

With Poirrier striking out only two batters, Roussel said his defense was outstanding.

“When you give up only one run and strike out two then you are really playing some defense,” Roussel said. “That is what got us here. Pitching, putting the ball in play and great defense did it for us this season.”

Finishing the game as the team’s leading hitter was a pair of doubles, Brooke Bourgeois said she is excited about having the chance to play for a state championship.

“That is what we have been trying to do all season,” Bourgeois said. “Everybody is excited. I was just trying to hit the ball as solid as I could out there today and I connected with it well a few times.

“I think if we continue to play as well as we have been as of late, we have the chance to finish with a special season.”

Overcoming a nervous first inning, Poirrier credited her defense as the driving force to her outstanding performance in the circle Thursday afternoon.

“I am so pumped that we are headed to Sulphur,” Poirrier said. “This trip really means something special to me.

“I was very nervous early on knowing that this game could be it. I think that we all were.”

The nerves quickly disappeared after the first inning and Poirrier returned to her usual dominate form.

“My pitches were working,” Poirrier said. “But I credit my team’s offense. We have to hit to win. The defense really stepped up as well.”

Poirrier said she welcomes the pressure of possibly having to pitch multiple games next week in Sulphur as the Lady Rebels fight for a state championship.

“I like pressure,” Poirrier said. “It makes me play better. I look forward to doing everything that I can to help us win.”