One down! One to go! After spanking Starks 10-0 in the second round of the LHSAA Division V playoffs on Monday, that is all that is left of the obstacles in the way of Quitman High School making the trip to Sulphur for the state softball tournament.
The best part is that the #2 seeded Lady Wolverines doesn’t have to go anywhere to get there. They just have to get past #7 Stanley this coming Saturday in the contest that is set for 1:00pm at Quitman High School.
The quarterfinal matchup is a rematch of a an earlier contest between the two where Quitman whipped the third place team in district 3B by a 16-6 margin. Stanley enters with a 13-18 record that includes a 15-0 first round victory over Gibsland-Coleman and a 16-10 regional round win over Calvin on Tuesday. The Lady Wolverines counter with a sterling 27-5 record that includes 24 wins in their last 25 games.
Quitman 10 Starks 0:
If they can’t hit, they can’t score. If they can’t score, they can’t win. That is the tried and true philosophy that Cali Deal implemented in the regional round victory, where she struck out 14 and fired her fourth no-hitter of the year, which includes her last two straight starts.
For a while it looked like Quitman needed Deal to be on top of her game as they had managed to score only a single run in the second and third innings. Then the vaunted QHS offense finally got untracked to post five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and three more in the bottom of the sixth to walk off with the “ten run” rule victory.
Ironically it was Deal that got the big inning started when she drew a walk before AJ Gray replaced her as a designated runner. Maggie Guyotte and Madeline Vail followed with singles setting up an Averie Williams base hit that scored one. Two more runs quickly followed on a Karley Huckaby hit and after Skylar Hall and Halle Kate Pullig kept the hit parade going with the fifth and sixth hit of the inning the lead ballooned to 7-0.
After Deal struck out the side on 13 pitches, QHS went right back on the attack. Once again it was Deal who led off the inning, this time ripping a single to left. Guyotte followed with a single and Mary Kaye Brymer slapped a double to right that scored Gray, who had once again come on as a pinch runner. Madeline Vail followed with a single to make it 9-0 and after Williams walked to load the bases, Huckaby came through again with a hit that ended the contest.
Brymer, who added a triple and a double, and Guyotte both got three hits and scored a pair of runs to lead the Lady Wolverines at the plate. Vail, Huckaby and Pullig got two hits and drove in two runs each while Hall got a pair of hits and scored a run. Firing 51 strikes in 64 pitches, Deal ran her record to 19-1 and upped her season total of strikeouts to 242 in just 129 innings.
|#15 Starks (16-7)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2|
|#2 Quitman (27-5)||0||1||1||0||5||3||10||16||0|
2B – Brymer
3B – Brymer
RBI – Vail 2, Huckaby 2, Pullig 2, Deal, Brymer, Williams
RS – Guyotte 2, Brymer 2, Huckaby 2, Vail, Williams, Hall, Gray
SB – Huckaby
Lady Tigers make early exit
The thing that will be remembered won’t be what took place at the final destination of the Lady Tiger’s 2023 season but the journey that got them there. Jonesboro-Hodge made an early exit in the Division IV playoffs, falling to #10 Merryville 17-1 in three innings but the loss does nothing to take away from the resurgence of the program orchestrated by first year head coach Mathew Pearce. With the loss, JHHS ends the season with a 9-13 record, representing the most wins since 2017 and more in the last four year combined. Merryville improved to 16-9 on the year and advanced to play #7 Oakdale.
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