SULPHUR — Ursuline Academy’s quest for its first state title ended Friday.
West Ouachita’s magical playoff run continued.
The Lions, a No. 8 seed, gave up three runs in the sixth inning and suffered a 7-5 loss to the No. 17-seeded Chiefs in the Class 4A quarterfinals of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association’s State Softball Tournament at Frasch Park .
“I knew they were good. That’s for sure,” Ursuline coach Stephen Dickey said. “We had our chances.”
Ursuline, making its second trip to the quarterfinals and first since 2011, finished 21-10.
The Lions led 5-4 after five innings, but the Chiefs rallied in the sixth. Bobbi Smith tied it with a sacrifice fly to left, then Allie Medlin delivered the game’s biggest hit, a two-run triple in the gap between right and center field.
“We have a good pitcher throwing to a good hitter, and she won that one,” Dickey said.
West Ouachita (18-14) advances to the semifinals to play St. Thomas More.
All of West Ouachita’s postseason wins have come against higher ranked teams. The Chiefs also beat 16 seed Morgan City and top-seeded Cabrini.
“The team that I always knew we had finally showed up for the playoffs,” West Ouachita coach Ashley Hoyle said. “West Ouachita is a school that has high expectations in the program, period. These kids know that. They have been here before. When we get here, we aren’t pleased with just being a 17 seed and just being here.”
Ursuline trailed 2-0 after a half inning but quickly responded by scoring three runs in the bottom of the first. They took advantage of three West Ouachita errors in the inning and got an RBI from Emily Cotton.
West Ouachita tacked on two more runs in the second, taking advantage of three infield hits, including a bunt single.
“We’re young, so the miscues we had early aren’t a surprise,” Dickey said. “We didn’t play small ball defense in general. The turf gave us a little trouble. The small ball on the turf really bothered us.”
But Ursuline answered again with two more runs in the fourth. Jenna Jurisich’s sacrfice fly to left, followed later by Meta Hight’s RBI single put the Lions ahead 5-4.
But Ursuline failed to score again.
It was the final game for Jurisich and Hight, the team’s only seniors. The two seniors shed tears and embraced moments after Dickey’s postgame speech.
“They are real leaders on the field,” Dickey said. “It’s sad to see them go out that way, but only one team is going to win it. We would have loved to have been that one. But those seniors brought this team along. When the season started, I didn’t think we had what it took for this team to get to Sulphur. But these seniors brought the team up.”
Jurisich lasted 6.1 innings before being replaced by Hight. Jurisich gave up 15 hits in her final outing. Hight took over with one out and two runners on, retiring the two batters she faced to get out of the jam.
Hight finished with two hits to lead Ursuline, which had six hits.
“I’m excited we got this far,” Jurisich said. “We are so young. I feel like the seniors really had the team on our shoulders and today we just didn’t pull it off.”