SULPHUR — Two innings proved to be the difference for Holden in its failed upset bid against Florien in the Class B state championship game.
Florien scored four runs in the first inning and one in the fourth to defeat the Rockets 7-0 late Saturday night in the Allstate Sugar Bowl LHSAA Fast Pitch 56 state tournament at Frasch Park.
The win for the Blackcats (23-5) is their fourth consecutive Class B state championship. Holden (32-4) was seeking the school’s first state title.
Caitlyn Corley walked to lead off the bottom of the first inning for Florien. After an Abbey McMillan single, Bailey McLeary reached on an infield single and Corley and McMillan scored on a throwing error by Holden pitcher Olivia Lackie.
Kaitlyn Davis walked and McLeary and Davis scored on back-to-back wild pitches, making it 4-0 Florien.
The Blackcats added an insurance run in the fourth and two runs in the fifth inning.
The Rockets’ best chance to score came in the fifth inning. With one out, Brianna Reason and Ashley Fogg singled and Olivia Lackey was hit by a pitch, loading the bases with one out. McMillan bounced back in the circle, striking out Abby McGonigal and Emma Hutchinson to end the threat.
Disappointed his team couldn’t pull off the upset, Holden coach Dennis Knight said he still couldn’t be prouder of his squad.
“We are an extremely young team,” Knight said. “We were hoping to have a better game, but things just got away from us in those two innings. Things just kind of fell apart. We threw our best at them, but it just wasn’t enough tonight.
“We knew (Florien) was really good. We threw the best we could at them and played as hard as we could. We played to win.
“It just didn’t go our way for a couple of innings, but that doesn’t take away from a special season for this team. It took a lot to get here. We started four eighth-graders. It was a truly a blessing to be able to play in a state championship game.”
Named the Most Outstanding Player, McMillan picked up the complete-game win, allowing five hits and striking out 12.