The Benton Lady Tigers and Parkway Lady Panthers picked up victories on the final day of the high school softball regular season Wednesday.
Benton downed Byrd 10-1 at Benton, and Parkway blanked Minden 11-0 at Minden.
Elsewhere, the District 1-5A co-champion Airline Lady Vikings lost a tough 4-3 decision to two-time defending Class 4A state champion North DeSoto at Airline, and the Haughton Lady Bucs fell to Ruston 12-2 at Haughton.
Airline (21-9), Haughton (14-15) and Benton (15-15) are all headed to the playoffs. The top 32 teams in the final Class 5A and 4A power rankings generally make the playoffs with the top 16 hosting first-round games.
Airline was No. 13 and Haughton No. 22 in the latest 5A rankings released Monday. Benton was No. 11 in 4A.
Parkway (10-15) was No. 31 in 5A and is also likely playoffs-bound.
Official pairings are scheduled to be announced Thursday.
At Benton, Makenzie Chaffin went 3-for-4 to lead the Lady Tigers at the plate.
Senior Sarah Koeppen, the co-MVP on the 2016 All-Parish team, pitched a two-hitter. She also went 2-for-4 with three RBI. Senior Abby Kent continued her outstanding play, going 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Anna Claire Kratzer went 2-for-2 and walked twice. Macey Bridges went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI.
At Minden, Madelyn Elliott went 4-for-4 with a double and two RBI in Parkway’s win. Abbie Norcross went 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBI. Allie Hunt had two hits, including a triple. Makayla Strother had an RBI.
Norcross allowed four hits and struck out five in five innings on the mound. Hunt allowed one hit in two innings.
At Airline, Lady Vikings sophomore Maddie Ennis went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI against a Lady Griffins team ranked No. 1 in the Class 4A power rankings. In the last two days against Benton and North DeSoto, Ennis has gone 7-for-8.
Senior pitcher Hannah Hutson had five hits. She also had two RBI. Jessica Grubbs had a double.
Louisiana Tech signee Bayli Simon gave North DeSoto a 3-2 lead with a three-run home run with two outs in the third.
Airline tied it in the fifth. Grubbs doubled with one out and advanced to third on an error. Hutson brought her home with a single.
The Lady Griffins (26-3) scored what proved to be the winning run in the top of the sixth on a two-out single.
Ennis led off the bottom of the seventh with a double, but North DeSoto got two popouts and a strikeout to end it.
Airline scored single runs in the first and second.
In the first, Jessica Baffuto, Ennis and Kourtnee White had singles. Ennis scored on a bases-loaded walk to Hutson.
In the second, Brooklyn Brandon walked and moved to second on Caroline Easom’s one-out single. Baffuto advanced Brandon to third with a sacrifice bunt. Ennis’ groundball single to center scored Brandon.
At Haughton, Sidney Arnold and Lacey Dodson had doubles in the Lady Bucs’ loss. Ruston, No. 7 in the 5A power rankings, improved to 24-9.
Bossier closed its season with 21-6 loss to Logansport. The Lady Kats finished 6-16.
NOTE: The above report is based on information on teams’ official GameChanger accounts.
— Russell Hedges, firstname.lastname@example.org