SULPHUR — Top-seeded Parkview Baptist tried to make a play that would force a momentum shift. Instead, it was Buckeye High that grabbed the momentum and ultimately the Class 3A state softball title.
The third-seeded Panthers raced out to a two-run lead and withstood several PBS rally attempts to post a 7-3 victory in the 3A final that helped highlight Saturday night’s finals action at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s State Softball Tournament.
“You can analyze it and go back and look at what happened all you want,” Parkview coach Ashlee Ducote said. “That still doesn’t change what happened.
“I have all the faith in the world in these girls, and they continued to fight. I hurt for them. It’s tough because I’m as competitive as anybody, and I want to win. This hits home.”
Pitcher Mikaya Brown was voted the game’s MVP after scattering six hits. She also finished 2-for-4 at the plate to help Buckeye (28-2) win its first state softball title. For Parkview (29-6), it was the fourth runner-up finish in five years. The Eagles were also the 3A runners-up from 2008-10.
“I can’t even explain it,” Buckeye coach Darlene Wiley said. “The girls were determined, and they had a mission this weekend.”
The two-day tournament attracted a crowd of 18,840, the second-best ever. Saturday night’s finals session at Frasch Park drew a record crowd of 4,569.
Paris Hernandez was 2-for-4 at the plate with three runs batted in for BHS. Lacie Nugent had a two-RBI triple, while Brown scored two runs for the Panthers.
Morgan Acosta was 2-for-3 to pace PBS, which also lost the second game of the season to Buckeye, 15-5. Brooklyn Guillot gave up seven hits and struck out eight for the Eagles to go along with an RBI single.
Two first-inning errors that staked Buckeye to a 2-0 lead were crucial. So was the fact Parkview stranded nine baserunners and failed to score after loading the bases in the bottom of the seventh. Buckeye also threw out a Parkview runner in that inning.
In the first, BHS’ Jessica Johnson reached on an error. Lacie Nugent also reached on an error before Hernandez delivered a two-RBI single. The Eagles countered with a run in the bottom of the first. Dawson reached on an infield single and was sacrificed to second by Camille Rozas. Dawson eventually scored on a Buckeye error.
The Panthers extended their lead with a four-run third inning. Brown led off with a hit and Lynsie Nugent reached on a fielder’s choice. The runners moved up on a sacrifice and scored on a Lacie Nugent’s triple off the left field fence.
Hernandez followed with her second RBI hit. Hannah Roberts’ double down the left-field line scored the fourth run.
Again, PBS countered. The Eagles scored two runs, but stranded a runner at third base. Guillot’s base hit brought Rozas home with the first run. A grounder by Megan Brown brought home Lauren Yawn, who had reached on a fielder’s choice.
Parkview loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth and did not score a run. Alyssa McVicker and Blakeli Entremont opened the inning with singles. McVicker was thrown out trying to score on a single to center by Acosta. Mandey Moses delivered a strike to Buckeye catcher Lacie Nugent, who tagged McVicker out.
The Eagles loaded the bases with one out when Dawson reached on an error. Brown got a strike out and a fly out to end the Eagles’ final threat.