St. Charles Catholic showed its youthfulness in the first inning of the Lady Comets’ game against visiting Teurlings Catholic in the opening round of the Division II softball playoffs Tuesday afternoon.
With the bases loaded and no outs, Madison Hebert popped out to second base. St. Charles also failed to score a potential run on a fly ball when the runner at third base failed to tag up with less than two outs.
The Lady Comets managed to score one run in the inning when a bases-loaded walk issued to Olivia Keating by Teurlings Catholic pitcher MacKenzi David forced in Brooke St. Pierre, who opening the inning with a bunt single, but SCC missed out on a potential big inning to open the game.
Hebert made sure that didn’t happen again when the freshman third baseman hit a two-run homer in the third inning to extend SCC’s lead to 3-0 on the Lady Comets’ way to a 5-1 triumph.
“She (David) kept jamming me inside and the next at-bat, I backed up from the plate a little bit and then turned on it,” Hebert said of her home run.
“In the first at-bat, she was one of the ones that came up with the bases loaded. She ended up popping up to the second baseman and that ended up hurting a little bit. She’s a kid that just needs to keep swinging. She’s a freshman and she has a lot of maturing to do, talking about what to swing at and how to hit. She made the adjustment the second time through the lineup, which is what good hitters do and she ended up squaring one up and hitting it on the other side of the fence,” St. Charles coach Ty Monica said.
The win over No. 10 seed Teurlings Catholic advances St. Charles, the No. 7 seed, to the quarterfinals. The Lady Comets are slated to play at second-seeded Hannan at 11 a.m. Saturday. Hannan advanced with a 13-0 win in five innings Monday over Lusher, the No. 15 seed.
Getting that first playoff game out of the way, Monica said, is always a relief.
“Especially with a brand-new team,” the Lady Comets coach said. “It’s their first playoff experience. Seven of the nine (starters) have never played a playoff game in high school before. I knew they were going to be nervous. I was really, really, really concerned about our preparation coming into the game. We had a couple of good days and (Monday) wasn’t so great, and that scares me. I’m a big believer in that you play like you practice.”
One of the concerns manifested itself when the Lady Comets (17-10) failed to score from third base on the fly ball in the bottom of the first inning.
“We failed to tag up on a sacrifice fly, which could have potentially been another run. We expect our big hitters to perform in that situation. One of the daily ‘musts,’ – things we do every day – is a runner at third base and less than two outs, you’ve got to get that run home. We didn’t have a whole lot of success with that in that particular inning. Later in the game, I thought we got a couple of big two-out hits that separated us from Teurlings.”
After the first couple of innings, Hebert said, all of the Lady Comet hitters adjusted.
“We needed to come to the plate with better intensity. We had to turn on the pitches she was throwing us. She was throwing us all inside and we had to adjust,” said Hebert.
St. Charles manufactured a run in the fourth inning when St. Pierre came up with a bunt single with two outs. After St. Pierre stole second base, Lauren St. Martin followed with a bloop single just over the head of Teurlings second baseman and St. Pierre ran all the way home to make it 4-0.
“Brooke and Lauren have been catalysts for us throughout the season. They’ve been our rock, so to speak. When we can get one of those two girls on base, we have a pretty decent chance of scoring. Brooke beat out the bunt and she steals second base and then Lauren come up and finds a way to get her home. That was very, very important at the time. We will take runs any way we can get them,” said Monica.
The Lady Comets added their final run in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Teurlings Catholic (18-14) got its only run in the top of the fifth inning. Charli Broussard was issued a one-out walk by SCC pitcher Taylor Perilloux. Broussard advanced to second on a passed ball before a pair of pitches in the dirt allowed her to advance and score.
“That girl got on with a walk,” Monica said. “They scored a run without even having to move a runner over without even making contact.
“It’s been frustrating. We’ve had those moments throughout the course of the year. It was good that we limited the damage right there and got the batter to get out so they never had another baserunner that inning. That’s important – to not let it snowball into a huge disaster.”