When Springhill, Cotton Valley, Shongaloo and Sarepta rolled into North Webster two years ago, few realized the move would catapult the Lady Knights’ softball program into a state playoff participant.
Playing for coach Tony Mullins, North Webster finished 19-11 last season and advanced to the LHSAA Class 2A second round. This year, they are 25-5 and headed to Sulphur for a 4 p.m. Friday date with Pine Prairie (18-8) in the State Farm LHSAA Class 2A quarterfinals.
Three reasons why are seniors Alexis Kerry, Jordan Griffin and Brooke Foster, who went through the consolidation process two years ago and saw their softball program blossom. They form the nucleus of the Lady Knights infield at catcher, second base and shortstop, respectively.
“We had 60 girls come out for the team last year, but only 15 stayed,” said Kerry, who has signed scholarship papers with Bossier Parish Community College. “All of a sudden we had a lot more people and a new coach all coming together.”
Griffin, a 4.0 student who will be honored at Frasch Park at 10 a.m. Saturday as a member of the Academic All-State Team, is a Springhill original. She said the transition went smooth and she’s excited to be headed to Sulphur for the first time.
“It’s amazing, and there’s nothing I would rather happen during my high school career,” Griffin bubbled.
What about your impending graduation on May 16?
“I already knew that was coming,” she explained. “I didn’t know this.”
Foster came to North Webster from the multiplex of Shongaloo. She had attended schools in that area since kindergarten, so seeing her school close was wrenching.
“It was difficult, but I love North Webster now,” Foster said. “We went from Class B to 2A so the competition was very different.”
Mullins believes his team has a good shot at advancing on Friday, although Pine Prairie and coach Carolyn Deville have experience on their side.
“I told the girls that the only thing this team has on them is that they have been there before,” Mullins said. “This is our first trip.”
North Webster has five girls hitting .400 or better, led by first baseman Cassie Thomas at .466. The addition of talented freshman outfielders Caitlyn Maples and Jaslyn Winkler has also helped push the team over the top. But after pitcher Amberlee Nix, the Lady Knights will be as good as their three amigos.
“The seniors are our leaders and Griffin is
leader. If they need someone to speak up, she does it,” Mullins said. “Kerry is one of the top players in the area, and she plays hard all the time. Brooke will be extremely hard to replace next season.”