This past weekend was one that Larose native Jacke Melancon is going to remember for the rest of her life.
It’s the weekend she and her team won the LHSAA Softball State Championship.
Melancon, a Larose native, is the sophomore starting catcher for John Curtis. The Lady Patriots won the Division I State Championship this past weekend, cruising to a 7-0 victory over Mount Carmel in the Finals.
Melancon said to take the title is a goal that she and her teammates have set since the beginning of the season. Now that it’s been accomplished, she said it’s a feeling of pride and accomplishment that is unrivaled.
“It feels great,” she said. “This is my first state championship I have won. My coaches have said since the beginning of the season that we are coming home with a ring and that’s what we did. I have been on the field since I was in 8th grade, and this group was just different. We were filled with talent. It’s been a great year with my teammates.”
Melancon can recite how it all went down blow-by-blow. She remembers the sequence of events by heart.
Curtis went into the Playoffs as the No. 1 seed with a glistening record filled with wins over several of the top programs in the state.
Division I is a small bracket, so the Lady Patriots had a bye to the Semifinals. In that round, they cruised past Chapelle without issue in a 12-0 run-rule win.
That set up the Championship Game with Mt. Carmel — a team that Curtis had beaten multiple times in the season.
Curtis pounced early and rolled to a 7-0 lead.
In the 7th inning, Melancon had a birds-eye view of the action behind the plate as it all went down and as history would be made.
She tells the story with every, single detail still in it.
“The score was 7-0 and it was the top of the 7th,” Melancon said. “There were two out and the batter had 2 balls and 1 strike.”
Chapelle’s batter sees the next pitch and swings.
Ping. The ball has been put in play.
“She hit a ground ball to second base and we threw the girl out,” Melancon said.
Now comes jubilation.
Melancon said it took a split second for it all to sink in, but in the instant that the ball went from the air and into Curtis’ first baseman’s glove, it was like life stopped and stood still. But then something clicked and everyone realized — their goal has been met. They are the state champions.
“It was just crazy,” Melancon said. “My adrenaline was running and it was loud. It was just a great feeling. We all ran to the middle of the field and just screamed and cried.”
Those were tears of joy, but for Melancon, personally, this year had some tears of pain, as well. This was a season of triumph and overcoming and conquering adversity
In preseason, she got hurt fielding a ball at shortstop, which caused her to miss a month with a hamstring pull.
Melancon said being on the sidelines was not fun, but instead of getting down, she focused on doing therapy 3 days a week to get back.
Once on the field, she said the season flew by, but it was fulfilling, because she was able to help her team in all phases. Melancon recorded several clutch hits for the Lady Patriots in the course of the season, including a walk-off home run earlier this year.
Behind the plate, Melancon said she takes pride in being a wall.
“My mindset as a catcher when I’m playing is that in order to have a perfect game, you have to not let a ball pass you,” Melancon said. “That, and frame every pitch you can and make it look the best you can.”
With the championship won, Melancon still has plenty eligibility left. She said she will soak it all in for a few days, but then it’s back to work to try and accomplish more.
“I have set myself 3 goals: One is get better and mature at the plate. Two is get faster with my throw downs. And three is get stronger mentally and physically,” she said.