North DeSoto can finally claim the outright District 1-4A title – and a berth in the LHSAA Class 4A state semifinals following Friday evening’s 19-1 dismantling of league foe Benton at Frasch Park.
The teams shared the district title, despite North DeSoto winning the only meeting of the season between the two clubs. The buildup for Friday’s tilt had revenge written all over it. But the Lady Tigers couldn’t muster much offense against Lady Griffins freshman EC Delafield, who moved the ball around the plate with the skill of a surgeon.
The score surprised coaches and players from both teams, which appeared evenly matched entering the contest.
“19 runs. Yeah. Because Benton is a very good team,” said North DeSoto coach Lori McFerren, who coached from the dugout due to a facial injury she received a couple of weeks ago. “We preached to the girls all week that we respected Benton and I scouted them and treated them just like they were Neville and Teurlings Catholic.”
The Lady Griffins, who face Vanderbilt Catholic at 1 p.m. on Saturday, were so dominant they scored their first five runs off just one hit. But they broke the game completely open in the sixth when they sent 17 batters to the plate and scored 13 runs on seven hits.
“We had big expectations coming in, but North DeSoto is a great team,” Benton coach Michelle Owens said. “They hit and hit and hit and we couldn’t stop them.”
Once the Lady Griffins (17-9) got their sticks rolling, there seemed to be no end in sight. Junior Katie May contributed several hits and played a sterling defensive game.
“I hope we can win out,” May said. “We hit the ball well and played solid defense. I certainly didn’t think the score would be that far apart.”
Benton (17-11) left Chelsea Rangel and Sarah Koeppen stranded in the fourth when the game was still in doubt, but seemed mystified against Delafield for most of the game.
“We didn’t get the win but we fought hard,” Benton senior Taylor Thompson said. “Even though I’m a senior and I’m leaving, this team has a lot of talent and will be back for a better showing.”
North DeSoto’s sixth started with a single by Hailey Compton and a double by Bre Rambin. After Delafield reached on an error and Emily Henderson walked, the Lady Griffins were off and running. All four of those players scored, followed by Sami Walters, Bayli Simon, Maddie Burchell and Stephanie Easter. May scored to make it 15-1 before Benton managed to get the first out in the frame.
“We were composed and we kept the girls away from the park until just before the game,” McFerren said. “I wasn’t nervous, but I was talking too much on the bus so the girls told me to stop because I was making them nervous.”