Comets’ Sulphur string ends on road

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, April 29, 2014


LAPLACE — St. Charles Catholic’s nearly decade-long streak of Sulphur appearances is over. 

The Comets didn’t give it up without a fight. But No. 4 seed Notre Dame survived a bases-loaded push in the seventh inning to hold on to a 6-5 Class 3A regional round playoff victory, the Pioneers advancing to the state softball tournament in Sulphur.

“If you’d have told me we’d go 21-9 and have the tying run at third in the seventh inning at Notre Dame in the second round of the playoffs, I think we’d have all taken that before the season,” said St. Charles Catholic coach Ty Monica. “This team accomplished a lot this year, even if it doesn’t end with a trip to Sulphur.”

The Comets had advanced to Sulphur for the state tournament in nine consecutive seasons. 

Notre Dame (21-5) held St. Charles (21-9) to just three hits, but the Comets jumped on the Pioneers early by scoring four first inning runs. Jessica Mire’s bases loaded RBI single put the Comets up 1-0. Notre Dame walked in SCC’s second run and a pair of illegal pitch calls plated the third and fourth runs of the game for the Comets. 

The Pioneers rallied to tie the game, then took a 6-4 in the bottom of the sixth inning.

SCC loaded the bases and scored a run to draw close in their final at-bat. But Notre Dame closed things out with its second strong defensive play of the inning, getting Sara Louque to ground out to second to seal the victory.

“It really started on the first batter of the inning. Jessica Mire hits a ball into the hole and their shortstop makes a fantastic play, a Major League caliber play and throws her out,” said Monica. “Then when Sara hit that ball, I just knew we were about to tie the game. But their second baseman makes another great play. I guess it wasn’t meant to be.”

Brittany Lambert and Jade Brady each pitched three innings for St. Charles, each allowing three runs. 

Emily Triche, Mire and Louque collected hits for SCC. 

Monica said that the failure to get a key clutch hit with two outs ultimately spelled the end of the Comets’ season. SCC had runners in scoring position with two out in four of the game’s seven innings and failed to push runs across.

“We left a lot of runners on base today,” he said. 

Still, while SCC’s season is over before the Comets are accustomed, Monica said that he was proud of his players, in particular a senior class that led a team that boasted a heavy dose of first-year starters. Emily Triche and Jessica Mire, starters of four and three years respectively, were the team’s most experienced players and contributed much to a program that has won 195 games since Monica began his coaching tenure in 2007. 

“We’ve already got an eye on next season,” said Monica. “Hopefully, it’ll be the start to a new streak.”