St. Amant, Live Oak fall in semis at state softball tournament

SULPHUR — Second-seeded St. Amant and No. 4 Live Oak had their opponents exactly where they wanted them.

Both Baton Rouge area teams led going into the sixth inning of their respective Class 5A semifinal games at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s Fast Pitch 56 State Softball Tournament on Saturday afternoon at Frasch Park.

A three-run home run by Taylor Edwards and the pitching of LSU signee Baylee Corbello helped lift defending 5A champion Sam Houston to a 4-2 victory over St. Amant.

Meanwhile, New Orleans-based Mount Carmel Academy scored six runs in the final two innings to erase a 3-1 deficit in its 7-5 victory over Live Oak.

“It’s a seven-inning game and you’ve got to get 21 outs,” St. Amant coach Scott Nielson said. “I couldn’t be prouder of the way we played.

“I think there were a lot of people who wouldn’t have given us a chance because of who we were playing, regardless of the season we had. Obviously, we wish the outcome had been different. We gave them everything they wanted.”

Regina Baxter’s two-run home run in the seventh was a key play as Mount Carmel withstood a LOHS rally. The Eagles had the tying run on base when the game ended.

“This tournament really is a battle of nerves,” Live Oak coach Michelle Morris said. “It’s a battle of momentum shifts. We could have got ourselves out of it, but we didn’t handle the ball well. They (the Cubs) made some plays at the plate, so kudos to them. Trying to come back showed we believed in each other.”

SAM HOUSTON 4, ST. AMANT 2: Kara Gremillion’s solo home run gave St. Amant (27-3) a 1-0 lead in the first inning.

The Gators added a second run in the second. Kayla Braud was hit by a pitch. Pinch-runner Emily Cheatwood eventually scored on a single by Jordan Hartman.

Corbello, who tossed a two-hitter, striking out nine, did not allow a St. Amant hit after the second inning. Gators starter Kasey Nielson held Sam Houston (20-9) in check through five innings. The Broncos got two runners on base only once before the sixth, and that was in the first inning when Corbello and Tori Lantz singled.

Carleigh Chaumont reached on an error to open the SHHS sixth. Lantz then singled. Nielson retired the next two batters before Edwards’ home run to left made it 3-2. Sam Houston added an insurance run in the seventh.

Lantz was 3-for-3 to pace Sam Houston. Edwards was 1-for-3. St. Amant’s Gremillion and Hartman were 1-for-3.

MOUNT CARMEL 7, LIVE OAK 5: The Eagles (25-6) took a 2-0 in the second inning when Hailey Freeman hit a two-run home run to left. Mount Carmel countered with a RBI-triple by Alaina Guarino in the top of the third.

Ally Howard’s double to right-center field, which scored Meagan Louviere, increased LOHS’ lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the third.

Mount Carmel then took a 4-3 lead with three runs in the sixth. Live Oak starter Savannah Hall pitched to the first batter in the sixth before Amanda Holliday came on. The next four batters reached before Hall returned.

During that span the Cubs loaded the bases. Emily Lousteau and Simone Mayer had RBI hits. The third MCA run scored on an error.

Regina Baxter’s two-run home run highlighted the three-run seventh as Mount Carmel increased its lead to 7-3. Howard and Payton Gremillion had RBI hits for Live Oak in the bottom of the seventh before MCA’s Caitlyn Betbeze retired the next two batters to end the game.