Curtis jumps out early, defeats Rebels
Published 8:12 pm Friday, March 30, 2012
By RYAN ARENA
RESERVE — Tuesday’s district showdown between Riverside and John Curtis made clear that there are many reasons why the Patriots entered the meeting undefeated. One of the biggest is pitcher Katie Brignac.
Brignac slammed two solo home runs and put forth a dominant effort inside the circle, tossing a complete game two-hitter with 11 strikeouts to lead Curtis to a 9-1 victory at Riverside.
“This is the best she’s pitched for us all year,” said Curtis coach Jerry Godfrey. “I was a little worried … because of the weather situation last week, she really didn’t get work against significant competition. She had to work in our gym. But she really showed up today.”
Not helping the Rebels’ cause is that they had to work from behind for the entirety of the contest. Curtis (19-0, 4-0) scored four first inning runs that put the Rebels in a hole they would not be able to climb out of.
Brooke Lee led off the game with a single and Brignac walked to set up the first run of the day. It came off of the bat of Rebecca Dill, who punched a single through the infield to score Lee. The throw from right field was off target and courtesy runner Jenna Bordelon scored as well to make it 2-0.
Rachel Brockhaus walked and Heather Scully singled to load the bases with one out. Logan Melancon singled Dill home to make it 3-0, then Sage Eastin hit an infield grounder and the throw home was a beat too late, making it 4-0.
“We play better on the road when we have early offensive success,” said Godfrey. “When we go out and put together a few hits in the first inning, that definitely is important for us. It gives us confidence.”
Said Riverside coach Kristy Hebert, “You can’t give up four runs to start off against a good team. You can’t do it against anyone. They came up with some good hits, but at the end of the day, we have to respond to it.”
After that, a pitcher’s duel between Brignac and Riverside starter Destin Vicknair broke out for while. Brignac retired 11 of the first 13 batters she faced, with only Vicknair and Kori Bourgeois reaching on walks. Meanwhile, after the first inning, Vicknair settled down and retired 10 straight batters, with only Melancon reaching on a dropped ball after a strikeout.
Riverside (16-5, 3-1)
scored its first run in the fourth inning, after Toni Hebert recorded the Rebels’ first hit and advanced to second on an error. She’d score when Erica Delaneuville’s fly ball was dropped after a miscommunication between Curtis fielders, making it 4-1.
But the Patriots grabbed back the momentum when Brignac led off the next inning with a towering home run shot to centerfield, making it 5-1.
Curtis slammed the door in the seventh inning, one that again began with a Brignac home run, this one a crushing shot to left-center. Dill and Brockhaus each walked, and Melancon drove both in with a deep shot to left that went for a double.
That would be the last batter Vicknair faced on the evening, with Gabby Sharp finishing the game for Riverside. Eastin drove in her second run of the day on a single to make it 9-1; catcher Katie Bailey threw Eastin out when she tried to advance to second, and Sharp retired Chelsea Smith to end the inning.
But the game had all but been decided. Brignac struck out three in the seventh to seal the win.
“My girls just have to come ready to play,” said Hebert. “We’re better than that. (Brignac) threw a good game, but you can’t have the kind of at bats we did today.”