The two-time Louisiana High School Athletic Association Class 4A state softball champions North DeSoto Lady Griffins rallied from being down three runs with a three-run fifth and a three-run sixth inning to claim a 6-4 victory over the West Ouachita Lady Chiefs on Friday at Ouachita Parish High School in the opener of the Ouachita Parish Softball Tournament.
West Ouachita’s early season schedule is a virtual “Murders’ Row” of state softball powers as the Lady Chiefs have played three state champions in the West Ouachita’s first 10 games.
“We play a tough schedule all the way through the season, and it is for a reason” West Ouachita coach Ashley Burkett-Hoyle said. “Our kids are young, but I hold them to same high expectations that hold any of our teams in the past. We are looking to put them in a position to get ready to play the postseason.”
After starting the year 0-7, West Ouachita (2-8) defeated District 2-4A rivals Grant and Tioga this past week to open district play at 2-0.
“Early on, we struggled and weren’t sure how we were going to take care of business,” Burkett – Hoyle said. “We are starting to fight and learn how to continue to push. We are getting better every game, and that is something that I wanted to see.”
West Ouachita opened the game with a solo home run by Shelby Carlson to give the Lady Chiefs the early 1-0 lead in the top of the first.
The Lady Chiefs would add another run in the top of the fifth when Ashlyn Roach doubled to the wall in right center field to score Chesney Edgeworth to give West Ouachita the 3-0 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, North DeSoto (10-2) showed why it is the two time defending Class 4A state champions as the Lady Griffins scored three runs with two outs to tie the game at 3.
In the bottom of the sixth, North DeSoto took the lead on Sydney Webster’s two run home run over the left-field fence to give the Lady Griffins a 5-3 advantage.
A sacrifice scored another run for North DeSoto as the Lady Griffins claimed a 6-3 lead over West Ouachita heading into the top of the seventh.
In the top of the seventh, West Ouachita showcased the competitive spirit that has seen the Lady Chiefs reach the LHSAA Fast Pitch State Softball Tournament every year in the past decade as West Ouachita was able to score a run and had the tying run on base when the Lady Griffins recorded the final out to claim the 6-4 win.
“We are real young ball team,” North DeSoto coach Lori McFarren said. “When we got down early, I got into them a little bit because I thought we were handling the game like it was a job and just going through the motions. Our girls stepped up and starting yelling for each other and cheering each other on and that was good to see.”
Like West Ouachita, North DeSoto has played a tough pre-district and tournament schedule which saw the Lady Griffins play defending Class 5A state champions Alexandria Senior High twice and always tough Ouachita.
McFarren knew that West Ouachita’s Burkett-Hoyle would have the Lady Chiefs ready to play.
“West Ouachita is a great team,” McFarren said. “Their coach (Burkett-Hoyle) is a great coach and I really respect her. They (West Ouachita) always hit the ball and put the ball in play.”
Best Fielding play of the day
In the bottom of the fourth inning, West Ouachita pitcher Shelby Carlson hit North DeSoto leadoff batter Emma Callie Delafield. The next batter, Carlson got to pop up to Lady Chiefs catcher Samantha Eckert who rotated 180 degrees to fire the ball to West Ouachita first baseman Carah Gooden for the 2-3 double play.