SULPHUR — Cabrini senior Karli Perque wasn’t holding the trophy she had hoped to be carrying off the Frasch Park Field late Saturday.
Cabrini, playing in the state championship game for the first time in school history, had to settle for the second-place trophy.
No. 3 Cabrini had its storybook season come to a disappointing end, falling to top-seed North DeSoto 3- 0 in the Class 4A state championship game of the Allstate Sugar Bowl Fastpitch 56 at Frasch Park.
“Of course we wanted to go out with a win, but I’m proud of every one on this team,” Perque said. “We all gave it our all.”
The Crescents (27-7) didn’t have an answer for North DeSoto junior pitcher Emma Callie Delafield, who helped her team hoist the state championship trophy for a second straight season.
“Both times feel great,” said Delafield, who crushed Cabrini’s title hopes for a second straight year.
The Lady Griffins beat the Crescents 1-0 in the semifinals last season.
Delafield, who has committed to Northwestern State, gave up just one hit. That was an infield single by Kaylin Hillburn in the second inning. Cabrini’s only other two baserunners came on a pair of walks.
She also had 10 strikeouts, sitting the Crescents down in order and setting off a North DeSoto celebration for a second straight year.
“We knew she was a good pitcher because we played her last year,” Perque said. “Her rise ball definitely improved and we didn’t expect it.”
North DeSoto scored an unearned run in the third to take an early 1-0 lead. Sydney Webster reached base on an infield single and later scored on a Cabrini error. The Lady Griffins added a run in the fourth when Delafield led off the inning by reaching third on a double and an error. She scored on Stephanie Easter’s perfect bunt.
“Their pitcher did a great job and kept us off balance all game,” Cabrini coach Shannon Austin said. “When they put the ball in play on occasion our defense fumbled and when you get to a game like this that can’t happen.”
The Griffins padded their lead in the fifth on Rhyan Cisco’s RBI double to score Bayli Simon.
Cabrini reached the title game earlier in the day by beating No. 2 West Ouachita 2-1. Christie Runnels provided all the Crescents runs, driving in the first one with a triple in the first inning and another one with a sole homer in the fifth. It was the ninth home run of the season for the junior who has committed to Memphis.
“I had a feeling she was going to throw one right down the middle so I was ready to swing and hit it,” said Runnels.
Perque meanwhile had 11 strikeouts in the semifinal game, including one to end the game with the potential tying run on third base.
“As soon as she got up to bat I was thinking ‘three more pitches,” said Perque, a Jones County (Mississippi) Junior College signee. “I had all the faith in the world that we were going to make it to the championship.”
But it was as far as the Crescents could go.
“We knew our defense was going to have to be perfect and KP was going to have to be strong and we were going to have to be able to get it done at the plate,” Austin said. “We didn’t put that all together.”
Perque added five more strikeouts in the championship game to finish the season with 329 strikeouts and her career with 1,025.
“She is going to be missed a lot, both on and off the field,” Austin said.
Perque was one of four seniors, along with catcher Jessica Breitenbach, Kaylin Hillburn, and Heily Sculthorp who helped Cabrini to its most successful season in school history.
“Overall they did a great job over here in Sulphur and they did a great job all season,” Austin said. “I couldn’t have asked for anything else. They played until the very end. We advanced further than we have ever before. That’s what we preach so much. Every day, every at-bat, we’re looking for progress. So if that means at the end of the season that’s what we got, I’m happy with that.”