Three area teams know what to expect

Look to improve on last year’s showings

A trio of dual threats will lead Westlake, DeRidder and Sam Houston at this weekend’s state softball tournament in Sulphur, where each team will be looking to better last year’s showing.

All three teams will be in action Friday, when the quarterfinals for Classes 5A-B are played.

DeRidder reached the semifinals last year, while Westlake and Sam Houston were eliminated in the quarterfinal round.

Pitchers Myka Lester of Westlake, Lauren Parson of DeRidder and Jenny Griggers of Sam Houston are all capable of doing damage from the circle or in the batter’s box.

Lester opened the postseason in style, tossing a no-hitter in Westlake’s first-round win over Patterson. She also hit a home run and triple in that game.

Griggers had four hits, including a pair of doubles, and drove in the tying run in Sam Houston’s 7-6 regional-round win over Ponchatoula.

Parson has allowed two runs in DeRidder’s two playoff games and bats in the middle of a lineup that has scored 13 runs in the postseason.

Westlake knocked off defending state champion North Vermilion in extra innings on the road in the regional round to make it back to Sulphur.

Rams head coach Lindsay Langner said her team showed toughness in that game.

“It was good to see their fight,” she said. “We had some kids that stepped up in key moments and made plays. Myka did a great job throwing and everyone did well playing together.”

Langner said last year’s experience at the tournament will pay dividends this time around.

“Most of them have an idea of what it is like playing in that environment with all of the noise,” she said. “We have been trying to tell the younger ones what it is like. You have to be loud and your communication has to be good.”

The No. 13 Rams are the lowest seeded team in the 3A field and will open against No. 5 Caldwell Parish at 2:30 p.m.

Sam Houston showed plenty of fight in its regional-round win, coming back from a four-run deficit and scoring two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning on back-to-back doubles by Griggers and Andie Edwards.

The No. 3 Broncos have won 16 of their last 17 and will play No. 6 Airline in the quarterfinals.

No. 3 DeRidder plays No. 6 Belle Chasse at noon. The Dragons are 11-3 against other Class 4A teams.

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Sam Houston’s Jenny Griggers pitches against Barbe at Sam Houston High School in Moss Bluff, Louisiana on Tuesday, March 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Lake Charles American Press, Kirk Meche)

Kirk Meche””

Westlake’s Mkya Lester pitches in the first round of the 3A playoffs against Patterson at Westlake High School in Westlake, Louisiana on Tuesday, April 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Lake Charles American Press, Kirk Meche)

Kirk Meche””

DeRidder’s Lauren Parson (3) pitches during their Class 4A quarterfinal round game of the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Softball State Tournament, Friday, April 28, in Sulphur, La. (Rick Hickman/American Press)

RickHickmanPhotographer
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