High school softball playoff pairings released

By By Warren Arceneaux / American Press

The area’s two defending state champion high school softball teams will have divergent paths on the road back to Sulphur.

Hackberry, the two-time defending Class

C champion, is the top seed in Class C, while Sam Houston, the reigning

Class 5A champion,

will enter the playoffs and the No. 19 seed. Pairings were

released by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association Thursday.

Hackberry was the lone area school to receive a top seed. Earning top five seeds were Grand Lake, third in Class B, DeRidder, fifth in

4A and Rosepine, fifth in 2A, also earned top five seeds.

Teams in Classes 5A-B have to win two games to advance to the state tournament. Class C teams need to win once.

Hackberry (18-4) beat fellow state tournament regular Starks for the District 4-C title.

“We’ve done pretty well. There have been some times we have had some downs, but that is to be expected,” said Hackberry head

coach Angie Little.

Little said being defending champion and the top seed is not easy.

“It is always added pressure, everybody is ready to beat you,” she said.

“Rankings go out the window at the tournament. You have to play your A game every time. (The championship experience) helps

because we have the same crew. They should be used to it and should not have the nerves.

“Our hitters are pretty good throughout the lineup. In district, we had six hitters at .500 or better and another at .429.

Jolie (Trahan) is doing an excellent job pitching.”

Little said there are plenty of challengers for the crown.

“Calvin is the second seed and Starks is still pretty good,” she said. “You have to be ready to play them in the playoffs, and you can’t count Maurepas out.

“Two years ago we were ranked seventh and Starks was first and we won. I hope it is not the other way around this time.”

Sam Houston (16-9) will face a more

difficult road than usual to the Fast Pitch 56 tournament. The Broncos,

who won the Class

5A title last year and the 4A crown the year before that, received

a boost with the return to the pitching circle of Baylee

Corbello, who sports a 14-1 career playoff record.

Corbello, the reigning Miss Softball, was limited to hitting for most of the season due to injury.

Broncos head coach Beth Domingue said she doesn’t want her team to worry about the seeding or schedule.

“Baylee coming back has given the girls

a more positive outlook,” she said. “I try not to think about (the

seeding) at all.

I hope the girls are not going in thinking of themselves as a No.

19 seed. To be the best, you have to beat the best at some

point.”

The Broncos have won 10 consecutive games, getting quality nondistrict wins over Teurlings Catholic and Notre Dame. Corbello,

an LSU signee, has pitched the Broncos to three straight championship games.

“She has started two games, pitched two complete games and appeared in a few others,” Domingue said. “She is doing fine and

is confident up there.”

Bi-district Round Pairings

Class 5A

Class 4A

Class 3A

Class 2A

Class 1A

Class B

Regional Round

Class C