Lady Bobcats rip St. Al, take Division 7-1A softball crown

Published 11:30 am Tuesday, April 12, 2011

For the past few years, Bogue Chitto has represented a mountain that the St. Aloysius softball program couldn’t climb, as the Lady Bobcats have dominated Division 7-1A in recent years.

Nothing changed at Bazinsky Park on Monday, as Bogue Chitto clinched the division championship with a 5-1 victory over a resurgent St. Al team.

The loss means Friday’s game at West Lincoln is a winner-take-all for the second seed out of Division 7-1A and a berth in the Class 1A playoffs, which start April 29. The likely opponent is Division 8-1A leader Cathedral.

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“We had a little higher hopes going into today,” St. Al coach Gene Rogillio said. “Defensively, I thought we played as tight a game as we’ve played all year. Offensively, when we hit it, we hit it right to them. We hit the ball pretty well today. We’re playing with eighth- and ninth-graders against their juniors and seniors. The only thing I ask them to do is not to quit and we showed no quit out here tonight.”

Bogue Chitto pitcher Rheagan Welch flirted with a no-hitter through six, giving up one hit and one run while striking out five.

St. Aloysius skirted disaster in the second inning, as Grace Franco walked a couple of batters and a bases-loaded fielder’s choice finished by a nice throw from Haley Heggins to catcher Madison Heggins wiped out the lead run. Franco induced a routine flyball to left to escape without damage.

Her counterpart, Welch, kept hanging zeroes on the board. While the Lady Flashes made contact, nearly every nicely-hit line drive or deep fly ball found a glove.

But the Lady Flashes couldn’t keep the Lady Bobcats off the scoreboard forever. In the fourth, Alexis Givens smashed a one-out double to the fence. Next batter Alaina Nettles ripped a single to put runners on the corners. Franco struck out Welch for the second out, but Alaina Wallace, the No. 8 hitter, lanced a single perfectly down the third-base line to put two runs on the board. Franco walked the next batter, but recovered to strike out Bradi Davis to end the threat.

“When we come over here, it’s always a game,” Bogue Chitto coach Scott Leggett said. “We knew we had to come over here and take care of business. Rheagan pitched a great game and we made the routine plays behind her.”

The Lady Flashes could do nothing in reply, as Welch kept retiring the side in order and her defense made plays behind her.

After the Lady Bobcats added another run in the fifth off a walk and an error at short, St. Al finally had a runner in scoring position. Perry Gillis reached on a walk, was bunted to second by Madison Heggins and stole third with a nice dive under the tag. But on a routine flyball with two outs, she was caught and tagged off third by Nettles to end the threat.

Bogue Chitto seemed to close the door in the top of the seventh, as an error and a RBI single by Adrienne Wallace put the visitors on top, 5-0.

St. Al finally broke through against Welch in the seventh. Gillis ripped a two-out RBI single up the middle to plate Franco, who reached on a fielder’s choice. But it was all St Al could manage as Gillis was thrown out at third to end the contest.

Franco was the hard-luck loser, striking out 10 and giving up just three hits.