Pourciaux propels Broncos into semis

Sam Houston catcher Kimber Hamilton stands over Airline’s Jessica Baffuto after tagging her out in the top of the third inning during a Class 5A quarterfinal game at the state softball tournament Friday at Frasch Park in Sulphur, La., Friday, April 27, 2018. (Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press)

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{{tncms-inline alignment=”left” content=”<p class="p1"><span class="s1"><strong>Sam Houston </strong></span><span class="s1"><strong>2, </strong></span><span class="s1"><strong>Airline </strong></span><span class="s1"><strong>0</strong></span></p>” id=”cccd2804-e6c7-4221-a8e5-df2e9250e8c8″ style-type=”fact” title=”Class 5A | Quarterfinals” type=”relcontent” width=”half”}}

SULPHUR — Maddie Pourciaux was perfect at the plate and helped keep a shutout intact with a great defensive play to lead Sam Houston to a 2-0 win over Airline in a Class 5A quarterfinal game on Friday.

The Broncos (30-3) advanced to face Hahnville in the semifinal round at 2 p.m. today. Hahnville advanced with a 5-3 win over Northshore.

Pourciaux, the Broncos’ leadoff hitter, was 3-for-3 at the plate, driving in both Sam Houston runs in the second inning with a line drive that deflected off the Airline shortstop’s glove and trickled into center field. Andie Edwards and Makenah Hamilton scored on the play.

Airline (26-5) threatened to respond right away in the top of the third inning. Jessica Baffuto doubled with two outs. Brooklyn Brandon followed with a sharp single to left field, but Pourciaux’s throw beat her to the plate and catcher Kimber Hamilton applied the tag to end the inning.

Pourciaux said she enjoyed making the defensive play more than the hits.

“I liked that better because it saved a run and helped the team win,” she said.

At the plate, Pourciaux was looking to attack early in the count.

“I was looking for first-pitch strikes, just trying to swing hard and get a good pitch,” she said.

The Vikings got a runner to second in both the fifth and sixth innings, but Broncos pitcher Jenny Triggers forced a fly ball to center to end each inning.

Griggers allowed five hits and struck out five in the shutout. Airline was 1-for-6 with runners on base.

The Broncos’ performance was an improvement over last year’s state tournament, when defensive mistakes hurt the Broncos in a quarterfinal round loss.

“(Griggers) held her composure better and hit her spots well,” Domingue said. “Her mentality on the mound was better from the get-go, and getting out of the first inning quick was a big confidence booster.”

Airline got a runner to second with two outs in the top of the first, but Griggers caught a liner to end the inning.

Vikings pitcher Raelin Chaffin, an LSU commitment, held the Broncos to five hits and struck out four.

The Broncos threatened to score in the fifth and sixth innings, getting a runner to second with one out each time, but Chaffin forced a pair of fly balls to escape the jam in the fifth and got a grounder and strikeout to end the sixth.

Baffuto had two hits to lead the Vikings.

Sam Houston 2, Airline 0