DeRidder advances on Parson’s four-hitter

<p>DeRidder’s Lauren Parson (3) pitches during the Class 4A quarterfinal round of the LHSAA State Softball Tournament at Frash Park in Sulphur, La., Friday, April 27, 2018. (Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press)</p>Rick HickmanRickHickmanPhotographer
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<p class="p1">SULPHUR — Sparkling defense from the first out to the last keyed DeRidder’s 3-0 Class 4A quarterfinal win over Belle Chasse on Friday.

<p class="p3">The Dragons (24-10) will face North DeSoto in a semifinal game at 11:30 a.m. today.

<p class="p3">Dragons pitcher Lauren Parson threw a four-hitter and drove in a run with a sixth-inning triple.

<p class="p3">Dragons second baseman Laela Quinones started the game with a diving grab on a hard grounder for the first out, and center fielder Aubrey Joslin ended it with a diving catch on a line drive.

<p class="p3">In between, the Cardinals had plenty of baserunners but could never get a big hit.

<p class="p3">“When the other team gets runners on, I don’t panic,” said Dragons head coach Todd Schulz. “I know Lauren is going to come in and do what she does. The defense is good; we play with so much confidence behind her, and it showed today. We stepped up and did a heck of a job today.”

<p class="p3">Quinones made three nice plays in the first half of the game, including stopping a ground ball up the middle for a force out to end the fourth inning. The Cardinals had two runners on at the time.

<p class="p3">DeRidder took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Hadley Allen walked, stole second and third bases, and scored on an errant throw to third. They added two insurance runs in the sixth when Joslin slapped a triple into the right-center field alley.

<p class="p3">Parson, usually a right-handed hitter, switched to the left side for her final at-bat and followed with another triple to the same spot. She scored on an infield single by Allen.

<p class="p3">“I looked at her before the last at-bat and said to go from the left and she said, ‘Huh?’” Schulz said. “(Assistant coach) Brian Parson was saying to go lefty. She has only done it a few times this year, but was able to deliver the big hit.

<p class="p3">“(Belle Chasse pitcher Brookelyn Sweeney) was good; she had a great screwball. We couldn’t get our hands through and kept popping up. But we were able to get the timely hits when we needed them.”

<p class="p3">Belle Chasse (25-8) had a hit in each of the first four innings but left eight runners stranded, including two each in the third, fourth and fifth innings.

<p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>DeRidder </strong></span><span class="s1"><strong>3, </strong></span><span class="s1"><strong>Belle Chasse </strong></span><span class="s1"><strong>0</strong></span>