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High school softball: Benton spoils Haughton’s bid for share of 1-5A title with 8th-inning rally

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The Benton Lady Tigers prevented the Haughton Lady Bucs from claiming a share of the District 1-5A championship Wednesday.

In the completion of a suspended game at Benton, the Lady Tigers scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to rally past the Lady Bucs 8-7.

Haughton led 7-5 with one out in the top of the eighth when the game was suspended on March 17 because of inclement weather.

Back-to-back home runs by Laney Dubrow and Averi Phillips had given Haughton the two-run advantage.

When the game resumed Wednesday, Benton pitcher Ava Defee quickly got a strikeout and a groundout to close the top half of the eighth.

Meaux Carroll and Piper Stephens walked to start the bottom of the inning. 

Marissa Schoth’s single scored Carroll and Stephens advanced to second. 

Megan Risher then reached on an error, loading the bases. Olivia Burns drew a walk on a full count, tying the score.

Kennedy LaPierre hit a grounder and courtesy runner Dylan Defee scored the winning run on an error.

Benton improved to 14-6 overall and 3-2 in district with its fifth straight win.

Haughton dropped to 13-10 overall and completed district play 5-2, one game behind Natchitoches Central (17-7, 6-1).

Airline (16-6, 5-1) can earn a share of the championship Thursday with a victory over Southwood (10-7, 0-5) at Southwood.

The Lady Vikings and Lady Chiefs also shared the title last year. Airline has won outright or shared the championship four straight years.

Schoth finished the game 3-for-4. Sophia Livers went 2-for-4. Her two-out double in the bottom of the seventh sent the game into extra innings.

Megan Risher hit a solo home run. Defee went the distance for the win.

Haughton had 10 hits. Dobrow went 2-for-4 with two RBI. Kayleigh Goss went 2-for-3. Phillips went 2-for-4. Brooklynn Bockhaus walked three times.

Dixie Williams turned in a solid performance in the circle, allowing six hits and three earned runs. She struck out five and walked four.

While district play is winding down, the regular season is far from over. Benton still has at least six games left plus the Southwood tournament.

The Lady Tigers host Minden Thursday at 6:30.

Haughton has six games left on its schedule on the LHSAA website, including Thursday’s 6 o’clock home game against Cedar Creek.

Both the Lady Tigers and Lady Bucs are virtual shoo-ins for the playoffs. According to GeauxPreps.com, Haughton went into the completion of the game No. 15 in the Class 5A power rankings. Benton was No. 16,

Natchitoches Central was No. 11 and Airline No. 13 through Wednesday.

The top 32 teams in the final ratings generally make the playoffs with the top 16 hosting first-round games.

Note: The above report is partially based on information available on the teams’ official GameChanger accounts.

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