Pine Prairie High catcher Sara Tate tries to slide safely into third base in a game played earlier in the playoffs. The Lady Panthers advanced to the state semi-finals after defeating the No. 5 seeded Winnfield Lady Tigers at the state tournament in Sulphur on Friday afternoon. (Gazette photo by Tracey Jagneaux)
SULPHUR -- The Pine Prairie Lady Panthers inched one step closer to a Class 3A state softball title after defeating the Winnfield Lady Tigers 7-2 in the quarterfinals of the LHSAA State Softball Tournament here Friday afternoon.
Pine Prairie utilized their power game, collecting a solo home run from Jacie McFarlain and a three-run blast from Sara Tate to garner the win.
As of press time, The Lady Panthers were scheduled to take on the No. 1 seeded Brusly Lady Panthers in the semi-finals on Saturday at 2 p.m. the Ville Platte Gazette will have a recap of that game and any other game possibly played in Thursday’s edition.
Pine Prairie began the game by getting Winnfield in order in the top of the first inning.
The Lady Panthers threatened in the bottom of the first to put the first runs of the game across the plate. After McFarlain grounded out to third base, Julia Chaddrick singled.
Macey Harvey struck out and Tori Johnson singled to put runners at first and second with two outs. Unfortunately, Tori Bordelon popped up to the third baseman for the final out.
Winnfield got the lead off runner on in the top of the second, but Pine Prairie starting pitcher Karli Ortego and the Lady Panther defense shut down the Lady Tigers before they could get rolling.
Pine Prairie did get runners to first and third in the bottom of the second, when Sara Tate led off with a single and Ortego walked. But, the Lady Panthers were still unable to push any runs home.
In the top of the third, Ortego struck out the first two Lady Tiger batters and held Winnfield to only one runner, who reached on a single.
Pine Prairie took control of the game in the bottom of the third, as they exploded for four huge runs. McFarlain led things off with a monstrous blast over the left center field wall.
Chaddrick doubled and reached third on a fielder’s choice. Johnson lined to third for the second out. Tori Bordelon followed with a base on balls and reached second on a steal. Tate essentially put the game away with a three-run shot in dead center field to put the Lady Panthers up 4-0.
The fourth inning was relatively uneventful for both clubs. Pine Prairie tacked on another run in the bottom of the fifth when Harvey led off with a single and later scored on a single from Tate.
After holding the Lady Tigers to zero runs in the top of the sixth, the Lady Panthers added two more runs in the bottom of the inning to go up 7-0.
Winnfield put up the final two runs of the game in the top of the seventh and had bases loaded with two outs, until Ortego got the final batter to ground out to McFarlain.
Ortego picked up the win, throwing seven complete innings giving up two runs on five hits, while striking out six and walking one.
Tate led the way at the plate, going three-for-three and collecting four runs batted in.