Berwick High School's Morgan Toups
(The Daily Review/Steve Holley)
Berwick making 1st quarterfinal appearance in nearly 10 years
While Berwick High School first-year Softball Coach Joe Russo conducted an interview during practice Wednesday, his players were working on the field with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin" blaring in the background.
Coincidence? Maybe or maybe not, but regardless, a young Berwick softball team will be making its first quarterfinal appearance since 2011 Saturday when the team hosts Mamou in Class 3A quarterfinal action at 4 p.m..
The last time Berwick won a quarterfinal game, the Lady Panthers’ current group of seniors was in fourth grade. The same group was in the sixth grade the last time the Lady Panthers won a playoff game.
That all changed this season when Berwick, the No. 18 seed, traveled to the Arkansas line and upset No. 15 North Webster last week before coming home and defeating No. 2 seed North Vermilion in the bottom of the seventh in the regional round Tuesday.
Russo said winning the first-round game was a goal of the squad’s, and he credited the team’s seniors, Morgan Toups, Madison Carline, Alyssa Gray and Maci Broussard, for leading Berwick to the quarterfinals.
“I got a good group of seniors that they’re hungry for it, and they weren’t going to settle for just a bi-district win,” Russo said Wednesday. “They wanted more. They proved that last night. There was nothing but heart in that game. I’m just proud of them.”
Now, the Berwick Lady Panthers will be rewarded with another playoff game at home.
“We play well at home,” Russo said. “We get a lot of support. It was packed (Tuesday), from what I hear. I wasn’t paying attention to it too much, but they said this place was packed.”
As for Saturday’s opponent Mamou (19-8), the squad finished 10-4 in District 5-3A this season. Its journey to the quarterfinals has featured an 11-2 win against No. 16 Port Barre in the first round and an 11-1 win in six innings against No. 10 Sterlington in regional-round action Tuesday.
Against Sterlington, Mamou broke the game open with seven runs in the bottom of the fourth.
Mamou had 10 hits with four of those for extra bases.
Dacia Richard was 1-for-3 with a home run, two RBIs and a run, while Emily Soileau was 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and two runs. Other hitters of note were Angel Menier, 1-for-4 with a double, an RBI and a run; and Taylor Douget, 1-for-3, a double, two RBIs and two runs.
Richard earned the win against Sterlington. In six innings, she surrendered one unearned run on four hits with one walk and six strikeouts.
In the first-round win against Port Barre, Richard had seven strikeouts.
In two playoff games, Mamou has three home runs by three different players.
Russo said he has heard Mamou is similar to North Vermilion with solid pitching, a good lineup and quality defense.
“That’s basically North Vermilion, but you know what? That’s Berwick, too, now, so it should be interesting to see what’s going to happen,” Russo said.