MORGAN CITY — Prior to the seventh inning after Central Catholic had just escaped a one-out jam unscathed with runners on first and second and one out, Central Catholic coach Joe Russo encouraged his squad, up 3-0, to get some insurance runs against the homestanding Morgan City Lady Tigers.
Neither he nor Morgan City coach Kelly Jo Aucoin nor likely anyone else at McGee Park could have imagined what happened next during Wednesday’s contest.
Central Catholic erupted for eight runs in the top of the seventh inning, using multiple Morgan City miscues, to turn a close, well-played contest into an 11-0 Central Catholic victory.
A big part of Central Catholic’s win was ace pitcher Megan Landry. In addition to tossing a complete-game four hitter with 13 strikeouts, Landry connected on two home runs, collected four RBIs and scored two runs. She also had a single.
Her second home run, a three-run shot in the top of the seventh inning, gave the Lady Eagles a 7-0 lead.
“It wasn’t really me,” Landry said. “It was God doing all the work. I had a good defense behind me. I thought my catcher was calling pretty good pitches. We came out strong on offense, too. We all hit the ball.”
While the Lady Eagles loaded the bases in the seventh following Landry’s homer via consecutive singles by Amanda Barron and Olivia Crawford as well as Caroline Byrne taking base after being hit by a pitch, Central Catholic scored two more runs via errors as the Lady Tigers were unsuccessful in making fielder’s choice outs at home plate.
The Lady Eagles scored their final run on a Kimberly Russo bunt.
“They came around hitting the ball,” Aucoin said of Central Catholic. “We’re not hitting. We’re not executing our hits, our bunt situations. We’re not adjusting at the plate. … It’s like we’re in a hitting slump.”
Aucoin commended the job of sophomore pitcher Tyler Hebert, who struck out nine in the losing effort. Hebert surrendered 10 hits and 11 runs but only four of those were earned.
“Tyler pitched a good game,” Aucoin said. “(Our) defense just got to be behind her in the seventh inning.”
On the other side of the field, Joe Russo noted, “We had a very, very productive practice yesterday. We’re practicing to beat the good teams. No doubt, Morgan City’s a good team.”
He said that the final wasn’t an indication of how the game went.
“I think they’re (Morgan City) a much better team than what the score shows, and the game’s not an indication of what the score shows on the board,” Russo said. “It was a good ballgame.”
Things started off that way as Hebert struck out the side in the top of the first, while Landry did the same in the bottom of the inning after Morgan City’s Marilynn Bailey had begun the frame with a single up the middle and later, Hebert walked.
Moving baserunners was a problem all night for the Lady Tigers as they left six on base. In every case, Morgan City put a runner on base with less than two outs.
Central Catholic scored the games’ first run in the top of the second inning when Landry drove the first pitch from Hebert over the centerfield wall for a solo home run.
The Lady Eagles added two more runs in the third inning as Hebert walked in a run and another scored on an error.
In addition to Landry, Longman had two hits, an RBI and scored two runs, while Barron had two hits and scored a run. Kimberly Russo also recorded an RBI and scored a run.
Besides Landry’s two home runs, though, Hebert surrendered just singles.
At the plate, Hebert finished 1-for-2, while teammates Taylor Prince and Aliya Green each finished 1-for-3 and Bailey, 1-for-4.
Bailey had two nice plays in the field, one in the top of the fifth inning when her lazer-like throw from centerfield back into the infield forced Joe Russo to hold Celine Flores at third base.
In the top of the seventh, Bailey made a nice diving catch in centerfield for the third out.
Morgan City returned to action Thursday when it traveled to Ellender for its District 8-4A opener at 4 p.m.
Central Catholic will hit the field Friday at 3:30 p.m. in the opener of its tournament when it plays South Lafourche in Amelia.