RA looks to write different ending

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 28, 2010



RESERVE – The end of Riverside’s regular season served as a cruel reminder to the end of seasons past — and perhaps fuel for a run at Sulphur.

The Rebels fell to Belle Chasse, 4-2, in its final game before the playoffs on a walk-off home run blast.

It was the same way the Rebels lost in the state semifinals two years ago. And the same way the Rebels lost a year later in the regional round.

“It brought back some bad memories,” said Riverside senior Kaitlyn Millet. “It gave us all goosebumps.”

The Rebels (21-10-1) hope now they’ve gotten that finish out of the way. Fresh off of a thrilling 1-0 win over Sacred Heart-Ville Platte, the 10th seeded Rebels return to Sulphur for the state softball tournament where they meet second-seeded Evangel, the defending Class 2A state champions.

“From the beginning, our goal was to get back to the tournament and play for a championship,” said Riverside coach Kristy Hebert. “Losing like we did against Belle Chasse, I think it made our team that much more determined to not let it happen again.”

Unlike crosstown rival St. Charles, which enters the postseason with a senior-led squad, Riverside brings an extremely young team into the postseason.

It’s pitcher (Destin Vicknair), catcher (Katie Bailey), and centerfielder (Taylor Terrio) are all freshman. Its shortstop (Erica Delaneuville) is a seventh-grader.

RA boats an extremely productive lineup in spite of its relative inexperience. Terrio hits .530, Vicknair .505, and Shea LaFountain .404. Kelsi Roussel and Vicknair have each driven in 23 runs to lead the team

“I don’t really look at their youth. They’ve played these positions for two years as eighth-graders,” said Hebert of her freshman class. “Playing the schedule that we did allowed them to mature. And that’s why we play it.

“At this point, (their success) doesn’t surprise me. I expect it out of them.”

Terrio said that the jitters haven’t completely gone away with that experience.

“I get very nervous,” Terrio said. “But you overcome it with lots of practice. It pays off for us.”

The schedule Hebert mentioned should come in handy when facing Evangel (24-6).

The Eagles have rounded into championship form again — they’ve shut out seven straight opponents, outscoring those foes 60-0.

The team’s success is keyed by the arm of two-time All-State selection Emily Rousseau. Rousseau, a senior, pitched a perfect game over six innings in a 6-0 win over Menard. She has signed with Georgia.

“They were the state champions last year, and their pitcher is tough,” said Hebert. “But again, our team understands what we’re up against.”

Said Millet: “We’ve played so many tough teams, we won’t see anything we haven’t seen before.”

Ironically, the Rebels were one walk away from setting up a matchup of pitchers coming off of perfect games.

Vicknair allowed no hits and just one walk in Riverside’s win over Sacred Heart.

“It was one of her best performances of the year,” said Hebert.

If she has another one in her, Riverside may be on its way back to the semifinals, or beyond.

“Everyone’s stepped up a notch this year,” said Millet.

“We’ve got one goal in mind, and everyone;s working as one for it.”