Last week, the Benton Lady Tigers routed No. 5 seed South Terrebonne 16-5 to advance to the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA State Softball Tournament.
Benton will be looking for another upset Friday afternoon in the Class 4A quarterfinals. The No. 12 seed Lady Tigers (17-15) face No. 4 Belle Chasse (24-6) at Frasch Park in Sulphur at 2:30.
Belle Chasse defeated No. 29 Huntington 15-0 in the first round and No. 13 Crowley 4-1 in the second. The Lady Cardinals, who lost in the second round the last two years, are the District 10-4A champions.
Belle Chasse is making its first appearance in the state tournament since 2013 when the Lady Cardinals lost in the semifinals.
Benton is making its first appearance since 2014. Things didn’t go well then as the Lady Tigers lost to North DeSoto 19-1. North DeSoto lost in the semifinals that year but the Lady Griffins have won the last two state titles and are still alive this season as the No. 1 seed.
Benton senior Sarah Koeppen, a Louisiana-Lafayette signee, will be on the mound for the Lady Tigers. Koeppen wasn’t projected to be the No. 1 pitcher this season but 2016 All-Parish pitcher Ashley Hunter suffered a season-ending knee injury in the season opener.
Koeppen has homered in the each of the Lady Tigers’ first two playoff games. She came close to hitting for the cycle against South Terrebonne with a homer, triple and double.
Brookelyn Sweeney, who allowed just the one run on a bases-loaded walk in the seventh against Crowley, is expected to be the Belle Chasse starter.
The Benton-Belle Chasse winner faces the North DeSoto-Lakeshore winner in the semifinals Saturday.
— Russell Hedges, email@example.com