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Central Catholic coach Joe Russo congratulates Bailee Lipari as she heads for home plate after connecting on a solo home run during the second inning of the Lady Eagles' 12-2 win against Ecole Classique in Division IV regional round action in Bayou Vista Tuesday. Central Catholic scored eight runs in the second. (The Daily Review/Geoff Stoute)

Big 2nd inning lifts CCHS to state tournament berth

A big second-inning gave the Central Catholic Lady Eagles a big lead they would not relinquish en route to a 12-2 victory in five innings against Ecole Classique in Division IV regional round action in Bayou Vista Tuesday.
Central Catholic scored eight runs in the inning, five of them with two outs, to turn a 2-1 lead into a 10-1 advantage.
The Lady Eagles (21-5) scored a run apiece in the third and fourth innings as they cruised to a return trip to the state softball tournament in Sulphur where the Lady Eagles will face the winner of No. 6 Ascension Catholic and No. 11 Opelousas Catholic late next week. The Ascension Catholic-Opelousas Catholic game won’t be played until Friday in Donaldsonville.
“This is what you work for. You work to get to Sulphur,” Central Catholic coach Joe Russo said. “You work to win a state championship, and a lot of these kids have been on numerous occasions, but we do have a few girls on the team who have never experienced it and that’s what I’m so excited about.”
Tuesday, Central Catholic’s big second inning started when Taylor Picou dropped a bloop single into shallow centerfield, which scored two for a 4-1 Central Catholic lead before Kayleigh Navarro followed with an RBI-sacrifice bunt to score Picou for a 5-1 advantage.
With two outs, the Lady Eagles scored five more runs via a solo home run by Bailee Lipari, an error on a dropped by Ecole Classique’s second baseman that allowed two more runs to score and run-scoring singles by Brooke Lipari and Haley Fontenot for a 10-1 lead.
“We had two really good practices,” Russo said. “We worked very hard with the scouting report I got on this pitcher. We ended up getting 12 hits, so I was pleased with our offensive side of the ball. … I thought we hit the ball well. We got enough hits to win it, and we had some people on base when we got the hits.”
The Lady Eagles added a run in the third inning on Shelbie Mabile’s single to left field and another in the fourth on Picou’s single to left field.
Ecole Classique added a run in the top of the fifth on Mattie Patterson’s RBI double.
Early on, Ecole Classique took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on Alyssa Hankins’ RBI single to right-centerfield.
Central Catholic responded in the bottom of the first with a two-RBI double by Navarro to take a 2-1 lead.
Sara Thomas and Haley Fontenot combined for a two-hitter. Thomas earned the win. In four innings, she surrendered one run (one earned) on one hit with three walks and six strikeouts.
Fontenot pitched one inning and surrendered one earned run on one hit with two walks and one strikeout.
Offensively, Bailee Lipari, Russo and Navarro led Central Catholic. Lipari was 1-for-4 with a home run, an RBI and a run, while Russo was 3-for-3 with a stolen base and two runs. Navarro was 1-for-2 with a double and four RBIs. Other top Central Catholic offensive contributors were: Fontenot, 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs; Picou, 2-for-3, two RBIs and two runs; Mabile, 1-for-2, an RBI and a run; and Brooke Lipari, 1-for-4, an RBI and a run.
Hankins suffered the loss. In four innings, she surrendered 12 runs on 12 hits with five walks, one hit batter and two strikeouts.
Patterson led Ecole Classique with a double.

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