St. Charles set to face familiar foe in Patriots

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 27, 2011



LAPLACE — If anyone needed further proof of just how loaded District 9-2A was in 2011, he or she need only one look at the teams remaining in the Class 2A state softball tournament.

Riverside is the top seed and still playing. Ditto for second seeded John Curtis and seventh seeded St. Charles. And as fate would have it, the latter two will square off in Sulphur on Friday at 2 p.m.

As district foes, the teams are very familiar with one another. SCC and JCC split a pair of games, each winning at home — Curtis toppled the Comets, 5-4, on March 15, while St. Charles came back a little over two weeks later to defeat the Patriots, 6-3, in a game highlighted by senior Jaymie Remondet’s go-ahead home run.

For St. Charles coach Ty Monica, the uncommon familiarity with a first Sulphur opponent changes things a bit in the days heading up to the game.

“I’ve always believed that your first game up there is the toughest,” said Monica. “So having a familiar opponent, it does help … you don’t have to worry as much about the unknown of another team, the culture shock of not knowing what is coming. It becomes more about handing the atmosphere.

“At the same time, you’ve got a whole week to prepare for that first opponent, and then you turn around and have about 18 hours to get ready for the second. So you’d almost wish for a rematch to come later. But that’s just being greedy.”

In some ways, the teams are mirror images. Curtis has won its last five games, including a 5-0 victory over Riverside, and is 15-2 in its last 17 games.

The Comets have also won their last five games and have won 15 of 17 as well. St. Charles is coming off of one of its most impressive wins of the season, an 8-0 win over Sterlington Tuesday. Monica believes it was one of his team’s most complete performances, especially defensively.

That defensive performance is something Monica wants to see repeated in Sulphur, citing the first Curtis game as an example of a day where mistakes got the best of his team.

“They scored five runs, and three were unearned,” he said. “We made errors and Curtis did what a good team does. So the number one thing is that we’ve got to make them beat us. We need to worry about ourselves first.”

A familiar name stands inside the circle for Curtis, as freshman Katie Brignac has been a difference maker as a pitcher and as the team’s third hitter. Protecting her in the lineup is the team’s lone senior, Priscilla Burns. Another freshman, Brooke Lee, has had a strong season leading off and playing shortstop for the Patriots, helping to lead the way.

St. Charles, meanwhile, has brought some big bats this season. The Comets have shattered the school’s all-time record for home runs in a season with 17 — the previous mark was 10. Megan Louque leads the team with a .476 batting average and as the squad’s pitcher boasts a 1.71 ERA with 148 strikeouts.

Experience wise, the Comets boast a mix entering the tourney. Seniors like Louque, Remondet, Jen Julian and Katie Terrio have each been to Sulphur for four straight seasons — SCC has been there seven straight years, in fact.

But Monica said that while having players like that on his side is an advantage, he also has a number of players who have no experience at the tourney to speak of.

“We were in the huddle after Thursday’s game and I asked for anyone that’s experienced Sulphur, be it playing, in the dugout, watching from the stands, to raise their hand. About half of them did. So not everyone is going to have that advantage of having been there before. Our one goal before the season was to be playing on that Friday. It’s what we set out to do, and now we’re there. And everybody knows, once you’re in, anything can happen.”