LSN STAFF WRITER
BUNKIE – The Iota Lady Bulldogs may have been the 22nd seed in the Class AAA girls softball playoffs but don’t tell that to the Bunkie Lady Panthers, who were the 11th seed.
Iota used a five run fifth inning and then hung on to upset Bunkie, 5-3 in the first round of the softball playoffs. Iota, who improved to 12-14 overall on the season, will host Caldwell High School at 5:30 p.m. on Friday. The winner will advance to the state quarterfinals in Sulphur on Friday, May 1.
“We executed a lot of the little things tonight,” Iota coach Katherine Horton said after the game. “We didn’t make very many mistakes in the game.”
Lady Bulldog pitcher Lauren LeJeune wasn’t over powering but she handcuffed the Bunkie batters for most of the night. She pitched a complete game eight-hitter.
LeJeune struck out six batters but none bigger that the last out of the game.
Iota had a 5-0 lead but Bunkie rallied in the last two innings. Down 5-1 in the seventh, Bunkie put together three hits and took advantage of an Iota error to cut the margin to 5-3. The Lady Panthers had runners on second and third with two outs with one of their leading hitters, Jessica Bean, at the plate. LeJeune struck out Bean on a changeup to end the game and send the Lady Bulldogs into celebration.
Horton visited the mound after the first Bunkie runner reached base in the seventh.
“I just reminded them of what they needed to do to get the outs,” said Horton. “We just wanted to get the outs and end the game.”
After four scoreless innings, Iota opened the fifth inning with the bottom of the lineup hitting. Gabbi Heinen singled but was forced out by Katy Comeaux. Lauren Dupre singled and a wild pitch put runners on second and third. After a strikeout, Laura Cart walked to load the bases.
Celena Bobbett then walked on a 3-2 pitch to score Comeaux. Carlie Thevis, who had a single in the fourth inning, then singled to score Dupre and Cart.
After a Bunkie error loaded the bases, LeJeune helped her cause with a triple to right center field that looked to score three runs. Bunkie appealed to third base saying the runner had not touched the base. The umpire agreed and took a run off the scoreboard.
“The two walks were the key to the game,” Head Coach Kenny Knight of Bunkie said after the game. “That was her (BHS pitcher Kasi Ducote’s) only two walks of the game and they couldn’t have come at a worse time.
“Give Iota credit, they played an excellent game and their pitcher kept us off-balance for most of the game. I know this, Iota is a better than a 22nd seed for the playoffs.”