Buckeye softball’s ‘Redemption Tour’ results in first Class 3A title since 2012

SULPHUR — Buckeye’s higher school softball year has been about redemption.

Just after providing up four runs in the seventh inning in a one-run reduction to Iota in last year’s regional spherical, the Girl Panthers gained their to start with Course 3A softball title since 2012 by defeating Iowa, 8-6, in the championship video game Sunday.

“This is a superior like none other,” Buckeye coach Justin Kees explained. “These women considering that working day a person have reported this is a redemption period and they’ve put to start with every single bit of work to receiving better — not stressing about what other persons are accomplishing but worrying about themselves. It is paid off. This run we experienced in the playoffs is unbelievable.”

The Girl Panthers, who shared the District 3-3A title with Grant and went 28-8 this time, defeated the top two seeds in Class 3A en route to the championship, beating No. 2 Lutcher in the quarterfinals to clinch a spot in the condition match.

Following defeating Sterlington, 7-5, in the semifinals, it did not consider long to make an influence against a top-seeded Iowa squad that did not permit a operate in the initially 4 rounds of the playoffs.

Placing the tone in the championship video game was senior Alexis Smith, who hit home operates in the first and 3rd innings to earn Most Exceptional Participant honors. Right after the Lady Jackets tied the recreation in the fourth, Buckeye plated four runs in the fifth, starting with an RBI single by sophomore Olivia Henry.

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“We’re a loved ones and we’ve been by a great deal of ups and downs and tricky instances,” Smith said. “We’ve occur with each other and we’ve figured out a way to jell. Ahead of this season even begun through drop ball, we mentioned that Sulphur and the state championship ended up our objective and that we weren’t going to stop right until we acquired there.”

All season, Buckeye turned to Henry to deliver in large times, as she possibly won games with her bat or arm.

Henry was in the circle for the final out, as she bought Iowa eighth grader Alivia Singletary to ground into a fielder’s option to safe the earn. The at-bat took eight pitches, but was very well value it for Henry.

“That batter was up there for a when, but I saved telling myself, ‘One extra strike, one particular a lot more out,’” Henry explained. “Honestly, I wasn’t was even too anxious. It just felt like an additional inning and it felt like a different vacation ball tournament. We weren’t nervous, but we were energized and came listed here to get the career finished.”

The exact can be reported for Kees, who replaced longtime mentor Darlene Wiley in 2020.

He had been to Sulphur ahead of as Rapides’ mentor in 2017 and 2018 but missing in the quarterfinals just about every 12 months.

On the other hand, there was a quiet for him this period versus a tricky plan that included a decline to Class 4A winner North DeSoto in the frequent-time finale.

“There had been a lot of instances that I set a great deal of strain on myself, but this calendar year, I just gave all the glory to God and I saw the distinction,” Kees mentioned. “I noticed the redemption. I simply cannot speak enough about it.”

This short article originally appeared on Alexandria City Discuss: LHSAA Softball: Why Buckeye’s Class 3A title was about redemption