A pitching change in the second inning ended up being a key moment and perhaps the deciding factor in Terrebonne’s 8-3 victory over Class 7-5A rival Thibodaux on Wednesday.

After her team escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first inning, and then put two runners on base with only one out in the second inning, Terrebonne coach Tammy Martin made the difficult decision to pull her starter Allyson Cobb early.

The move couldn’t have paid off better for Terrebonne if it had scripted it.

As soon as reliever Madison Verdin entered the game, she got Thibodaux’s Madison Bonvillain to hit into a long fly out in deep left that ended up getting a Thibodaux runner double up off second base to end the inning.

After that, things were never quite the same. That same inning, Terrebonne (11-5 overall, 1-1 district) sent eight batters to the plate and scored three runs to take the lead and never look back.

Dru Neil reached on an error, first giving Terrebonne a 1-0 lead. The host Tigers then made it 3-0 with a two-run single to left-center from Hailey Weeks to bump the score.

Terrebonne plated four more runs in the third inning to crack the game wide open. It started when Hailey Scott doubled to deep left and later scored on a wild pitch that was part of a culmination of Thibodaux errors throughout the day.

Terrebonne later loaded the bases and Bree Aguillard lined a two-run single to left, upping the score to 6-0. After a pitching change, Terrebonne made it 7-0 when Haley Verdin reached on an error at shortstop, capping the scoring for the inning.

Thibodaux (4-6, 1-3 district) got on the board in the fifth thanks to an RBI double from Abbie Bonvillain that made it 7-1. Terrebonne answered a half-inning later when Aguillard hit an inside-the-park home run on a hard-hit fly to deep right that deflected off the top of the right fielder’s glove, making it 8-1.

Thibodaux capped the day’s scoring in the sixth when Brie Buquet lined a two-run single to right off Verdin to make it 8-3.

Verdin took the win in relief, pitching the final 5 2/3 innings.

But both coaches agreed it was the second inning that was the turning point in the game.

“It was a key point in the game and she did a phenomenal job on the mound for us,” Martin said. “We drill and kill hitting fundamentals in practice. They saw the ball and had to adjust a lot in the box, but they really pulled it together as a team.”

“We definitely let a big opportunity slip past us,” Thibodaux coach Lindsey Orgeron said. “We can’t leave an inning with the bases loaded. “We preach to not let that get to them, but in reality it does. When you go up first, you’re always more likely to win the game. It’s always hard to come from behind, but being the team we are, we have to learn to do that.”

Avery Leyva took the loss for Thibodaux, allowing six earned runs in 2 1/3 innings.

Thibodaux finished with four hits, with Abbie Bonvillain going 2-for-4. Terrebonne got three hits from Aguillard (3-for-4, three RBI) and two from Scott (2-for-4), part of nine hits overall.

WEDNESDAY’S AREA SOFTBALL CAPSULE

HOUMA CHRISTIAN SCHOOL 17, ELLENDER 6, 5 INNINGS (at Houma, nondistrict game)

Offensive leaders: Houma Christian – Bethany Ekiss (four hits, double, two RBIs), Katelyn Guidry (three hits, double, two RBIs), Jayda Ward (two hits, double, two RBIs), Madelyn Carlos (two hits, RBI); Ellender – Sarah Clement (two hits, double, RBI), Ashlea Verdin (two hits, double), Kassie Bourg (two hits)

Pitching leader: Houma Christian – Michaela Rowsey (win, 4 2/3 innings, five hits, no earned runs, four strikeouts, two walks)

Records: Houma Christian (10-4 overall); Ellender (10-6 overall)

WEDNESDAY’S AREA BASEBALL CAPSULE

WESTGATE 7, COVENANT CHRISTIAN ACADEMY 5 (at Houma, nondistrict game)

Offensive leaders: CCA – Jahkeem Mosely (two hits, double), Devin Babin (two hits)

Pitching leaders: CCA – Hunter Coffman (5 1/3 innings, four hits, two earned runs, strikeout, walk), Trenton Holloway (1 2/3 innings, hit, earned run, no strikeout, two walks)  

Note: Westgate scored three runs in the top of the seventh inning to help take the win.  

Records: Westgate (5-9 overall); CCA (10-4 overall)

--Compiled by sports writer Kelly McElroy.