St. John defeats archrival Ascension Catholic in softball district opener

Staff Report

St. John wasted no time proving its worth in the District 7-1A softball race last week when the Eagles pounded visiting archrival Ascension Catholic 17-7 in a battle of perennial playoff teams.

The Eagles (7-3) tallied five runs in the first inning and piled 10 in the second to hold off their longtime foes from Donaldsonville.

Kynleigh Rhymer struck out seven across five innings in St. John's 17-7 win in the District 7-1A opener against archrival Ascension Catholic.

Even with the 17-4 lead after three innings, ACHS (9-9) mounted four runs in a comeback effort.

Base-running and three Eagle errors helped the Bulldogs trim the deficit.

The Eagles knew they could not afford to allow their foes an opening back into the game, senior catcher Cassidy Canella said.

Amelia Gaudet steals second base for St. John in action against Ascension Catholic.

“We all came together, and we had a good throw by Emma Perry at right field to stop Ascension Catholic at the plate,” she said. “We had settled, but in the end we Ascension Catholic’s four unanswered runs put the team on high alert."

Winning pitcher Kynleigh Rhymer struck out seven for the win. Rhymer allowed seven hits and walked two Bulldogs.

She said the longtime rivalry between the two teams never allowed the Eagles to let their guards down.

The comeback hardly surprised the team, she said.

St. John senior catcher Cassidy Canella awaits the throw to home to make the tag at home.

“We put a lot into this game, and they put a lot into this game,” she said. “We knew what was at stake, as did Ascension Catholic.

“We used our nerves to get us going after their rally, and we knew we worked too hard to let them back into the game,” she said. “We’re halfway through with the season, and we expect to win a lot more games, but we could very well see Ascension Catholic against us during the playoffs.”

Rhymer also went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, including teammate Charli Neumann, who also went 3-for-4 with one RBI and two runs. She had one double.

Emily Burleigh and Karsyn Vadnais also had two RBIS.

Kaylee Richard finished 2-for-4 with three runs off two singles.

Ali Mancuso and Baylie Romero also scored two runs for SJHS. Romero chalked a double.

St. John yielded ACHS a 3-0 lead in the top of the first. The Bulldogs left off with a single and mounted their first run off a fielder’s choice.

Ascension Catholic struck out the first Eagle batter in the bottom of the first, but Mancuso’s ground single and advance to second led to the first run off a Canella double fly to center field. A Rhymer grounder to center brought home Richard, while Romero double fly to left paved the way home for Caroline Bueche and Olivia Sanchez.

Rhymer sent back two of three batters in the top of the second and stranded one Bulldog at first.

Canella’s hard grounder brought home Perry, while a Rhymer fly ball drove home Richard.

St. John’s teamwork has contributed to the success thus far in the season, head coach Cindy Prouty said.

Burleigh added to Ascension Catholic’s woes when she singled a hard grounder to center to bring home Bueche and Sanchez.

A Vadnais grounder knocked in Romero and Burleigh., while a Rhymer two-run single put the Eagles ahead 15-3 before a groundout closed the inning.

An error, a steal and a passed ball allowed Ascension Catholic three runs in the top of the fourth.

St. John hosts H.L. Bourgeois on Monday and visits Hanson Memorial the following day.