SULPHUR — Three teams from District 4-5A came to the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Fast Pitch 56 state softball tournament determined to prove their mettle.
They had one more thing in common by the time the Class 5A state champion was crowned: All three had lost to top-seeded Alexandria Senior High.
The Trojans used a four-run inning to power their way past second-seeded Zachary 7-0 in the title game that ended early Sunday morning.
Title-game MVP Carrie Boswell smacked a solo home run and tossed a three-hitter with 11 strikeouts for ASH (30-4). Zachary, making its first title-game appearance since 1994, finished 26-6.
Zachary coach Leslie Efferson-Yellott fought back tears as she watched her team shake hands with the Alexandria players.
“At one point I thought we played a little tight and maybe lost a little intensity,” she said. “Oh my gosh, I am so proud of these kids. This senior group … they were 9-20 when they were freshmen, and look at where we are. That’s a very good team over there. We came in and played well from the time we got here yesterday. I couldn’t ask any more of them.”
Caroline Manzer finished 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs for the Trojans. Ella Manzer was 2-for-4.
Carsyn Martel finished 2-for-3 for Zachary, which was seeking its first state title since 1991.
The tourney attracted 19,710 fans, the second-highest total ever, despite the fact that heavy morning rain pushed games back into the night and early morning.
ASH got stronger as the weekend continued. After beating Central 3-1 in the quarterfinals, the Trojans shut out Live Oak 7-0 in the semifinals earlier Saturday. Zachary had beaten Ouachita Parish 8-3 earlier Saturday to advance to the title game.
The Trojans sent nine batters to the plate in the pivotal bottom of the third against Zachary, pounding five straight hits at one point. Madyson Carruth drew a leadoff walk. Two fielder’s choice plays left Carruth at third and Taryn Antoine at first.
Antoine stole second, and Caroline Manzer followed with a two-run single. When Manzer was thrown out trying to advance to second, the Broncos had two outs, but the inning was anything but over.
Boswell smacked a solo home run that made it 3-0. Brianha Bennett followed with another homer to make it 4-0.
That was all the run support Boswell needed. After walking two batters in the first, she settled in and retired 11 in a row before Martel led off the fifth with an infield single.
The Trojans closed the scoring in the bottom of the sixth with Ella Manzer’s two-run double.