Quitman falls in 9 innings to Converse in Division V Softball Championship

Can a Friday ruin a Saturday? It can when (Abby) Friday fouled off three straight pitches before hitting a two out double in the top of the 9th inning on Saturday to give Converse a 2-1 victory over Quitman High in the Division V state softball championship game.  

While the loss was disappointing for the locals, it by no means takes away from the tremendous season enjoyed by the Lady Wolverines, who finished with a 29-6 record and their fourth state runner-up finish since 2011. Since the LHSAA officially recognized softball as a sport in 1968, Converse stayed perfect in title game contests to join the 1978 and 1994 editions as state champion and end the year with a 23-7 record.  

Setting the Stage! Second seeded Quitman, champions of District 1B, drew a first round bye before compiling three straight shut out victories to reach the championship game, where they would play their third straight school from district 3B. Victories came against #15 Starks 10-0 in the regionals, #7 Stanley 12-0 in the quarterfinals and #3 Florien 4-0 in the semifinals.

By virtue of their #4 seeding, Converse, which was runner-up to Florien and one game above Stanley in district play, also drew a first round bye. The Lady Cats beat #15 Maurepas 15-0, two time defending Class B runner-up #5 Anacoco 4-2 and #9 Choudrant in the semi-finals, who upset #1 and five time defending Class B state champion Holden. 

Duel of Aces! Easily the most thrilling of all state championship games played over the weekend showcased two of the top pitchers in the state in Cali Deal of QHS and Converse’s Avery Prine. The pair lived up to the billing by combining to strike out 29 batters and give up only seven hits. Deal gave up only three hits and fanned seven of the first nine batters she faced to finish with twelve in the contest, while Prine allowed four hits and K’d 17, including 10 of 13 Quitman batters over the final four innings.

Early Advantage! After the Lady Cats went three up and three down to open the game Quitman quickly struck for a 1-0 advantage in their half of the inning. Deal got things rolling with a one out, double to left, followed by a Maggie Guyotte walk. Maddie Kaye Brymer then lined a single to left that scored Deal. 

Rolling the dice! Buoyed by the one run advantage, Deal struck out the side in the top of the second and Quitman went right back to work offensively. Skylar Hall grounded a one out single and Madison Chaplin worked a 1-2 count into a walk bringing up Deal with two outs. Rolling the dice, Converse gave her an intentional pass to load the bases but the risky move payed off as all three were left stranded on base. 

Scoreless streak snapped! Converse got their first hit of the day, a double to left by Summer Brumley that was followed by a grounder that was misplayed putting runners on first and third with one out. Going “small ball”, Maci Morgan perfectly executed a bunt to first that scored Brumley to tie the game at one each. The run was the first that an opponent had scored in 34 straight innings, stretching over six games.

Missed Opportunities! Quitman continued to put the pressure on with Hall drawing a one out walk in the fourth, Deal opening with fifth with a single and then being intentionally walked for the second time in the bottom of the seventh. Each time, Converse escaped without any further damage being done as the contest went into extra innings. 

The “Real” Deal! Despite suffering her second loss against 21 victories, Cali Deal turned in an impressive all-around, title game performance. In the circle, the lanky lefty allowed only three hits while striking out 12 over the nine innings. Offensively, the sensational sophomore reached base in all four plate appearances. Included was the pair of intentional passes and two of Quitman’s four hits, including the only extra base hit of the contest, the first inning double that led to the only run scored.

Senior statements! Quitman’s four senior’s: Skylar Hall, Maddie Kay Brymer, Madeline Vail and Averie Williams closed out their careers in fine fashion as each played a vital role in the semifinals and finals. In the semi’s, Williams hit a double ,Vail singled and Hall executed a perfect sacrifice bunt. In the finals, Hall reached base twice on a hit and a walk and the “Big Bopper”, as Brymer is affectionally called, singled to drive in the Quitman run.

TEAM 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
#4 Converse (23-7) 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 3 0
#2 Quitman (29-6) 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 3
WP – Prine, LP – Deal (21-2)
2B – Deal (QHS), Friday (CHS), Brumley (CHS)
RBI – Brymer (QHS), Morgan (CHS), Friday (CHS)
RS – Deal (QHS), Brumley (CHS), Prine (CHS)

Quitman powers past Florien in semi’s 

Cali Deal pitched her fifth consecutive shut out and both she and Maggie Guyotte hammered home runs as Quitman beat Florien 4-0 to advance to the Class B state finals.  

Improving their runs scored vs runs against total in the playoffs to 26-0, the second seeded Lady Wolverines improved to 29-5 on the year and earned their first trip to the title game since 2015 and fourth in the past eleven years. Florien, winner of district 3B and seeded #3 in the tournament, fell to 20-9 on the year. 

Small ball! In the bottom of the third, Quitman coach Justin Dodson played “small ball” to put Quitman on top. The opportunity came when Karley Huckaby opened the frame with a pop fly single to left.  Dodson then called for a sacrifice bunt that Skylar Hall executed perfectly, putting Huckaby in scoring position.

Big break! Quitman then got the break of the game, when Hallie Kate Pullig lifted a fly ball to left that was misplayed allowing Huckaby to move to third and the heads up Pullig advancing to second. 

Sac and a Sock! Continuing the theme of executing when needed, Madison Chaplin hit a sacrifice fly that scored Huckaby to give Quitman a 1-0 lead. That set the stage for the first of Quitman’s two home runs of the game. Taking the first two pitches for balls, Cali Deal smashed the next pitch over the left field fence for her 12th round tripper of the year that gave Quitman a commanding 3-0 advantage. 

Icing on the cake! Maggie Guyotte put the icing on the victory cake in the bottom of the sixth when she upped the lead to 4-0 by adding to her school record home run and RBI total. Guyotte connected on a 2-1 pitch for her 21st “tater” and her 60th RBI of the year. In doing so she also became the only player in the rich Lady Wolverine history to hit 20 or more home runs, drive in 60 and score 40 runs in a season. 

Superb Scoreless Streak! With her fifth consecutive shut out, Cali Deal improved her record to a sparkling 21-1 and ran her streak of innings without allowing a run to 31 straight. During the incredible run, Deal has struck out 52 and given up just 9 hits to the 111 batters faced.

TEAM 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E
#3 Florien (20-9) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 1
#2 Quitman (29-5) 0 0 3 0 0 1 x 4 5 0
WP – Deal (21-1), LP – McDaniel
2B – Williams (QHS)
HR – Deal (QHS), Guyotte (QHS)
RBI – Deal 2 (QHS), Guyotte (QHS), Chaplin (QHS)
RS – Deal (QHS), Guyotte (QHS), Huckaby (QHS), Pullig (QHS)

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