Senior Pine Prairie Lady Panther pitcher Karli Ortego (15) sets her feet to throw out a Sacred Heart runner after fielding a bunt. Pine Prairie collected 17 hits, including eight extra base hits to take down the undefeated Lady Trojans 13-2 in an intra-parish game on Wednesday afternoon. (Gazette photo by Tracey Jagneaux)
PINE PRAIRIE -- Two of the best high school softball teams around the area went toe-to-toe here Wednesday afternoon and in the end it was the powerful hitting of the Pine Prairie Lady Panthers that wound up stealing the show, as they rolled past the Sacred Heart Lady Trojans 13-2 in five innings of play.
On the day the Lady Panthers pounded out 17 hits, including six doubles, a triple and a home run, and held the Lady Trojan bats in check allowing only three hits.
With the win, Pine Prairie improves to 11-1 on the year. The Lady Panthers will host Plainview tomorrow at home. Game time is set for 5:30 p.m.
Sacred Heart picked up their first loss of the year and are now 6-1 for the season and will host Breaux Bridge on Thursday.
“Every game we go in with the mind set that the pitcher will not change for you, but you have to change for the pitcher with your approach at the plate,” stated Pine Prairie head coach Woody Harvey. “We adjusted really well after the first at bat. At practice we do a lot of drills dedicated to pitch selection. Even though this is a young team, they are taking it to heart and it shows.”
Sacred Heart head coach Megan Granger was very complementary of the Lady Panthers.
“You have to tip your hat to them, they are a really good team,” said Granger. “But, that is the type of teams you want to compete against early on to see what you are made of and what you need to work on. Our plan was to go away on them, we just missed some spots on the mound. I told the girls we got exposed a little bit this afternoon and now we have to go and work on our weaknesses.”
Offensively, Sacred Heart looked like they were the team that would be doing the damage at the plate early in the game. In the top of the first inning, lead off hitter Sydnie Soileau reached on a single.
Lady Trojan catcher Olivia Hernandez laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt, advancing Soileau to second. However, neither Tobi Landry or Karli Fontenot, the next two hitters in the lineup could push Soileau home.
Pine Prairie also stranded a runner in the bottom of the first. After a lead off double from Jacie McFarlain, and a sacrifice bunt from Maycie Hardy, starting Sacred Heart pitcher Aubrey Foret was able to work her way out of the jam sitting the next two batters down in order.
Lady Panther starter, Karli Ortego settled down and retired the Lady Trojans in order in the top of the second inning. That gave the Pine Prairie offense a chance to gain new life.
Kailey Soileau led off with a single and was followed by Allie Fontenot’s double. Abby Fontenot pushed Soileau and Fontenot home with a single.
After a stike out, Karli Ortego drew a one out walk, putting runners at first and second. McFarlain and Hardy followed that with back-to-back singles, scoring Fontenot and Ortego.
Johnson singled in McFarlain and Hardy, but was thrown out after trying to reach third on an errant throw. Wall ended the inning with a ground out to third base, but not until the Lady Panthers had put up six runs.
Neither team could produce any runs in the third inning. In the top of the fourth, Sacred Heart was able to score their first run of the game when Fontenot blasted a 2-1 pitch over the center field wall.
Pine Prairie would answer resoundingly in the bottom half of the inning. After McFarlain lined out to center field to lead things off, Hardy doubled off the wall in center field. Johnson followed with a triple, plating Hardy.
The very next batter, Wall, sent the first pitch over the left-center field fence, clearing the bases and giving the Lady Panthers a 9-1 lead. Soileau and Allie Fontenot would finish the scoring in the inning on a single from Abby Fontenot. With that offensive output, Pine Prairie now led 11-1.
Sacred Heart produced their second run of the game in the top of the fifth inning. Emilyse Bergeron drew a lead off walk and reached second on a passed ball. After a strike out, Natalie LeBas popped up to second base for the second out of the inning. Aubrey Foret followed with a single to left field, scoring Bergeron and made the score 11-2 in favor of the Lady Panthers.
Pine Prairie finished out the game with two more runs in the bottom of the fifth, capping off their win.