SCC concludes magical run at state tourney

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Lady Comets come within seven innings of state title


Sports Editor

SULPHUR-Cinderella saw the clock strike midnight Saturday night.

After a brilliant run that saw them advance to the Class 3A state championship game, St. Charles Catholic fell just short in the title game against powerhouse Parkview Baptist, falling 12-0.

The loss to the Lady Eagles concluded the Cinderella run to the state championship over the weekend.

The Comets defeated Belle Chasse, 3-2, in the quarterfinals and then Brusly, 7-5, in the semifinals to advance to the state championship game.

“What a run for our girls,” St. Charles Catholic Head Coach David Lowry said. “Obviously we would have liked to win the state championship game, but the journey to just reach it was pretty awesome. The girls believed in themselves, they believed in each other and played really hard through a three-game stretch this weekend and really gave it their all.”

Going up against one of the most powerful teams in the state in Parkview Baptist, Lowry said he knew that his squad would have to play nearly flawless softball if they were to have a chance.

“We had to try and keep them within reach,” Lowry said of the Lady Eagles. “Even after we got down 4-0 after three innings it was still doable. It was kind of deflating for us when they pushed the lead to 6-0, because they are a very good team and we knew that we would have a difficult time coming back from that.”

Despite not coming home with the state championship, Lowry said he could not have asked for anything more from his 2005 squad.

“It was an unbelievable run because we knew that to accomplish this it was going to take our best effort of the year,” Lowry said. “And that happened because our last four games were the best four games that we played this season. It wasn’t the prettiest all the time, but we found a way to get it done.”

One of several highlights of the weekend for the Lady Comets was the play of junior pitcher Mary Clement, pitching 21 innings in a span of little more than 24 hours.

“Mary gave it everything she had out there,” Lowry said. “She even said she didn’t feel as good in the Brusly game as she did in the other game preceding that. For her to battle through that and come away with the win just shows how gutsy of a player she is.

“She’s the one that got us to where we wanted to be.”

Disappointed she wasn’t able to change the outcome of the final game, Clement credited her opponent.

“I knew from the first inning that they were going to be a tough team,” Clement said. “They hit the ball really well. They work well as a team and they have the experience of being here almost every season. They are a very good team and you could tell that they wanted it a lot when they came out onto the field.

“They were just better than us tonight. They weren’t 12 runs better than us, but they were just the better team out there this game.”

Disappointed Saturday night, the junior pitcher said time will heal the hurt, but she couldn’t be prouder of how her team played throughout the season.

“No one besides us thought we could be here,” Clement said. “Everyone thought that we would get beat, but here we were seven innings from a state championship.”

SCC 7, Brusly 5: Scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Lady Comets advanced to the state championship game with a 7-5 victory over Brusly in the state semifinals Saturday afternoon.

After surrendering a pair of runs in the top of the first inning, St. Charles Catholic cut the lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the inning on an unearned run.

With two outs, Clement lined a double into the right-field gap. Felicia Taylor’s pop-up to second base was mishandled allowing courtesy runner Katie Tregre to score to cut the lead to 2-1.

The Comets would tie the game up an inning later thanks to another unearned run.

After Kayla Rebaldo was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, she was sacrificed to second base on a bunt from Addy Reine and would later score on the same play on an error to tie the game at two.

Brusly would get an unearned run of their own in the third inning to take a 3-2 lead.

The Panther lead would balloon to 5-2 in the fourth inning thanks to an RBI single from Lindsey Pinkston and fielder’s choice from Sarah Dwyer.

The Lady Comet comeback would begin in the bottom of the fourth. An RBI single form Brittany Marse scored Lauren Coniglio to cut the lead to 5-3.

St. Charles Catholic would tie the game in the bottom of the fifth when right-fielder Bridget Millet lined a two-run triple into the rightfield corner scoring Angelle Cupit and Paige Braud.

The Comets would take their first and most important lead of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning.

After Rebaldo led off the inning with a single, and advanced to third on a pair of wild pitches, she would score on a throwing error from Dwyer in the circle.

Reaching second base on the same throwing error, Reine would provide the Comets with an important insurance run when she scored on a wild pitch.

“It wasn’t the prettiest thing, it won’t go down in the annals as the best game in softball history,” Lowry said. “We persevered through that. Brusly got up 5-2 and we just kept coming, coming and coming.

“In situations like this, ordinary players do extraordinary things and make extraordinary things happen. 1-9 in the batting order and in the field, we were able to do that against Brusly.”

SCC 3, Belle Chasse 2: In one of the most exciting games of the state tournament, a game-winning extra inning hit from Kayla Rebaldo in the eighth inning helped the Lady Comets defeat Belle Chasse 3-2 in the state quarterfinals Friday afternoon.

Breaking out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning thanks to a RBI double from Taylor, the Comets held a commanding 2-0 advantage heading into the fifth inning.

Surrendering an unearned run in the fifth inning, the Comets were a pitch away from winning in regulation. After retiring the first two batters in the seventh, Clement gave up a single to Erica Champagne.

A strike away from retiring the next batter, Belle Chasse’s Sara Burdin lined a full-count pitch down the left field lien for a double to score Champagne and tie the game up at two.

Unfazed by the late rally, Clement retired Belle Chasse in the top of the eighth inning and proceeded to lead off the bottom of the eighth with a single.

Courtesy runner Katie Tregre was sacrificed over to second base on a bunt from Taylor and advanced to third on a groundout from Coniglio, sending Rebaldo to the plate.

The senior left-hander proceeded to lift an 0-2 pitch from Jordan Gaudet over the head of first baseman Kristie Frisella, scoring Tregre and giving the Comets the thrilling 3-2 victory.

“No words can express the feeling,” Rebaldo said after the game. “The score doesn’t matter. All that matters is that we came away with the win and we get to play another game. I kept telling myself that I wanted to make a play, I wanted to help us any way I could to come away with this victory.

“Being a slap hitter I was trying to lift the ball and I was able to do that over the head of the first baseman.”

Lowry said his team gutsy effort and ability to shake off the effects of the late-inning rally was the biggest difference in the game.

“You have to credit Belle Chasse,” Lowry said. “They got that game-tying hit in the only location of the park where they could have got the game-tying run.

“Tied again at two, we didn’t lose our poise. I felt that with who we had coming to the plate in the eighth inning we were going to be okay and in the end we did what we had to do to come away with the victory.”