MANDEVILLE — It was three strikes and out for Northshore softball team in its regional playoff game against Fontainebleau on Thursday.
For the third time this season, Northshore fell to Fontainebleau, the undefeated District 6-5A champion. After two regular-season wins over Northshore, Fontainebleau (25-4) added a 5-2 victory in the playoff and punched its ticket to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association state tournament in Sulphur next week.
Northshore, which finished second in the district, closed with an 18-7 record.
Fontainebleau wasted little time scoring. In the bottom of the first, Maddie Pence led off with a walk, and Gabby Perez sacrificed her to second. Brook Bergeron followed with an RBI double to right-center field to score the game’s first run. Amanda Lassus delivered the big blow of the inning with a towering home run to right-center that put Fontainebleau up 3-0.
The Bulldogs notched single runs in the second and third. Savannah Folse, Fontainebleau’s leading hitter, doubled to start the second inning and later scored on a fly-out to right field by Ava Zimmerman.
In the third, Bergeron doubled with one out and scored on a wild pitch to make the score 5-0.
Fontainebleau pitcher Shelby Rome (21-4) had control of Northshore batters until the sixth. Virginia Foy led off that inning with a single, and Sabrina Buelle sacrificed her to second. Sydney Bourg doubled and Hailey Kirkpatrick hit into a fielder’s choice to score Foy. Clean-up hitter Taylor Estain doubled to score Bourg and get Northshore within striking distance at 5-2.
Folse came in to close for Fontainebleau in the seventh. She allowed a walk to Jessica Dicharia and Foy later singled. But an over-the-shoulder grab in center field by Pence ended the game.
Fontainebleau coach Chris Nelson said he knew Northshore would get on the board at some point, but he was confident in his team’s ability.
“I knew they would make a run at us at some point,” Nelson said. “They’re too good of a team, too good of a program not to make a run at us. I just didn’t know when it would be. But I knew going into the start of the sixth … If we just could get through the middle of the order without it being too bad, we still had a cushion and we would be OK in the seventh because we would have (their) bottom of the order up. ... I felt like Shelby Rome was tiring a little bit, so that’s why it’s so nice to have someone like Savannah Folse to come in and shut the door.”
Northshore coach Marian Eades said she was proud of her team after they fell behind 3-0.
“We just didn’t hit the ball,” Eades said. “I thought their pitchers did a great job, and we played good defense. But we lose no one, so hopefully we can come back next year, battle, and go a little farther.”
Rome allowed five hits in six innings. She struck out four batters and walked none.
Folse led Fontainebleau, going 3-for-3 with two doubles. Bergeron was 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Bourg led Northshore going 2-for-3 with two doubles. Foy also went 2-for-3.