by Lee Hiller // Northwest Louisiana High School Correspondent
Cover Photo by Kelly Young
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Three state champions crowned with one runner-up
Softball playoffs crowned three teams from Northwest Louisiana as state champions and one finished as a state runner-up.
North DeSoto claimed the Class 4A title for the fourth time in the last six playoff seasons. The Griffins used a 7-run third inning to erase a 5-0 deficit to defeat Beau Chene 13-7. Jordan Brewster led the onslaught with a pair of doubles and 4 RBIs. Laney Johnson (double) and Landry Price (triple) both drove in three runs.
Calvary won in Division IV to capture its third title in five years. The Lady Cavs defeated Catholic-Pointe Coupee 1-0 in an eight inning thriller. The Cavaliers previously won in 2017 in Division III and 2016 in Class 2A.
Many, making its first title game appearance, captured the Class 2A crown with a 4-2 defeat of Doyle. The Tigers trailed 2-0 entering the bottom of the sixth inning when they scored all four runs. Winning pitcher Tia Holmes doubled in the first run and Brook Jenkins put Many ahead with a 2-run single. Shiley Cartinez singled home the final run and Holmes finished it out in the seventh with a pair of fly ball outs.
Airline finished as state runner-up in Class 5A falling to Barbe 3-1. The Lady Vikes advanced to their second state final in school history by defeating No. 1 seed West Monroe in the semifinals. The Vikes fell to the Bucs in the 2019 semifinals and were previous state runners-up in 2007 after losing to Ruston 3-1.
District 1-5A had five teams qualify for the playoffs with four picking up first round wins that advanced them to the regional round of best-of-3 series. One team was assured of advancing to the quarterfinals as Captain Shreve and Haughton faced each other. The Bucs won the series 2-1 over the Gators and ended up the only team to make it to this week’s next round and will face no. 1 seed Barbe. Highest seed Benton (no. 7) dropped both its games with 10 seed Dutchtown, 6-1 and 4-3. 18 seed Parkway gave 2 seed West Monroe all it wanted before falling 4-3 in game 3.
North DeSoto (no. 2) advanced to the Class 4A quarterfinals in taking 2 of the 3 games from no. 15 Eunice. The Griffins won game 1 5-2 on Friday, lost 2-1 in game 2 only to take deciding game 7-4. No. 13 Minden dropped both its games to no. 4 Neville, 11-1 and 12-0.
Calvary a 3 seed and St. Mary’s a 4 seed both won its series to advance to the quarterfinals in Division IV. The Cavs downed no. 14 Highland Baptist 4-2, and 7-2. The Tigers needed a 6-1 game 3 win to get past no. 13 seed St. Frederick.
Byrd (23-7), the no. 1 seed in Division I, will play host to no. 8 St. Augustine beginning Friday. The Purple Knights defeated district foe Shaw 10-6 and 7-4 to take their series.
Logansport, the 5 seed in Class 1A, will host 12 seed Slaughter Community Charter today in the regionals while (no. 14) Haynesville travels to (3) Merryville.
Single elimination games in Class B has No. 1 Choudrant hosting (16) Holden, (5) Florien hosting (12) Pitkin, (4) Zwolle hosting (20) Monterey, (11) Doyline traveling to (6) Quitman and (10) Weston going to (7) Converse.
Summerfield, the no. 3 seed in Class C, took down (14) Georgetown 4-1 in a regional clash and awaits the winner of (11) Hackberry-(6) Hornbeck. Tenth seeded Pleasant Hill dropped a 4-1 decision to 7 seeded Harrisonburg. (17) Ebarb will travel to top seed Hicks today in a regional matchup.
Track and Field
Several athletes from northwest Louisiana qualified at regionals to move on to this week’s state meet to be held in Baton Rouge.
Individual first place winners in Region I-5A boys Kendrick Law of Captain Shreve took the 100, Trent Wells of Byrd in the 1,600 run, Baylin Demars, Natchitoches Central in the 400 and Oluwagbe Ojemakinde of Natchitoches Central the only double winner winning the shot put and discus. Wells finished second in the 3,200.
Byrd’s girls 3,200 meter relay team was the only relay team not named Ruston to take home a first place. The team included Jenna Key, Lily Blaylock, Lillie England and Bryn Peters. Peters and Benton’s Isabelle Russell finished 1-2 in the other two distance races. Russell won the 1,600 with Peters second and Peters won the 3,200 with Russell second.
The Region I-4A meet had a few more local winners awarded gold medals. Huntington’s boys took the 800-meter relay (Nickolas Ellis, Demajah Riley, Stephen Bradley, Kendrick Rucker) and Northwood’s boy the 400-relay (Mar’javkous Moss, Derrick Roberts, Lakyrie Arkansas, Terrance Cook). The North DeSoto team of Jonathon Lewis, Kolton McMellon, Logan Ferguson and Cole Palmer took the 1,600 relay. Palmer had two other first place finishes winning both the 110-hurdles (14.69) and 300-hurdles (39.95). Woodlawn’s Brian Stewart was a double winner in the sprints, taking the 100 in 11.21 and the 200 in 22.53. Field event top finishers were Tyronne Montgomery of Woodlawn in the long jump (21-9 ½), Cameron Porter from Northwood in the shot put (51-6) and North DeSoto’s Logan Ferguson vaulted 12-0 in the pole vault.
Booker T. Washington and North DeSoto girls took all four relays. The Griffins won the 3,200 and 1,600 relays while BTW were ahead of everyone in the 400 and 800. Sprinter, hurdler Chyler Turner of BTW once again dominated winning the 100-meters in 11.94, 200 in 24.87, 100-hurdles in 14.18, and 300-hurdles well ahead of everyone at 43.69. Huntington freshman Demetria Harris outdistanced the field in the long jump with a leap of 16-7 ½ and was second to Tuner in the 200 and third in the 100. Teammate Taylor Bell remained undefeated on the season by winning the shot put with a 34-10 effort. Teighor Latin gave North DeSoto its only field event winner by winning the discus (89-2).
Bossier and Mansfield had the only first place finishers in the boys Region I-3A meet. The Bearkats took both the 1,600 and 3,200 meter relays and had freshman David Rojas win the 3,200 run. They also had a winner in the field events with Mekhi Tanner, jumping 22-7 ½ to win the long jump. Mansfield had a first place on the track by winning the 800-relay and Nick Bailey in the field jumped 6-feet to win the high jump.
Mansfield’s girls took three of the four relays, winning the 400, 800 and 1,600. It also won the sprints with freshman T’La Dewitt winning the 100 in 12.78 and Ly’Tykeunna Sicks the 200 in 25.75. Precious Jones was fastest in the 300-hurdles with a 51.78. Loyola was the only other multiple winner with wins in the 3,200 relay and a double winner from Lauren Lindsey with first place finishes in the 1,600 and 3,200.
Peyten Ware of North Webster was the lone field event winner with a pole vault of 11-3.
Many led the way with winners at the Regional I-2A boys meet. Senior Teddy Gowen won both the 1,600 and 3,200 and Armonti Rachal the 110 and 300 hurdles. The Tigers’ 1,600 relay team was just tad faster than the Lakeview Gators. North Caddo won the 400 and 800 relays. Brian Palmer of Red River won the high jump with a 6-6 effort and Lakeview’s Dillon Pikes won the long jump.
The Region I-A meet held at Lakeside saw the Logansport boys post a number of first place finishes. Jacaleb Robinson won the 100 in 11.28, Keysavalyn Barnes the 200 (22.5) and Jalen Robertson the 400 (52.5). The Tiger 400 and 800 relay teams also came out ahead. Calvary distance runner Garrett Sepulvado won the 1,600 (4:45.81) and 3,200 (10:49.23). Kendrick Blanks of Plain Dealing had the lone field event win in the high jump.
Haynesville’s Marissa Tell won the girls 100-hurdles (16.5), was second in the 300 (51.5) and won the triple jump (34-11). Marvales Brown of Ringgold won the javelin with a throw of 116-9. St. Mary’s picked up wins from Maggie Gilmore in the high jump (5-2) and Jensen Parker in the 800 run (2:27.73).
Loyola’s Stafford Yerger was northwest Louisiana’s only hope for a state champion at this year’s state tournament held in Monroe at the University of Louisiana-Monroe.
Yerger breezed to the Division III title match having lost only one game in three matches. He would face Kai Reinauer of St. Louis Catholic who had not given up game in three matches. After winning the first set 7-6, Yerger dropped the second 6-3 and came up short in the third and deciding set 10-6 to finish as the state runner-up.
The Loyola doubles team of Brannigan Bissell and James Graf advanced to the semifinals before falling to the Newman team of Alister Cunningham and Cole Cahn, 6-2, 3-6, 10-2. The Flyers had the doubles team Bo Bowman Jr. and Charles Valiulis advance as far as the quarterfinals before bowing out to Eli Crawford and Benjamin Reinauer of St. Louis Catholic.
Emma Broadway of St. Mary’s advanced to the semifinals of the Division IV girls singles before dropping two sets to Brooke Powers of Christ Episcopal School.