DENHAM SPRINGS — Denham Springs High School smashed 12 hits and overpowered Northshore 16-6 in a Class 5A regional softball game Friday at North Park.
The Yellow Jackets advanced to the state tournament for the 13th time in school history, including eight of the past 10 seasons.
Northshore took the early lead with two runs in the first inning and the Lady Panthers added four runs in the fifth inning to cut the Denham lead to 14-6 and extend the game.
Northshore was three up and three down in the top of the sixth. Denham went to work in the bottom of the sixth with one out and needing two runs for a 10-run rule victory.
Bailey Fucich was hit by a pitch, Hannah Meadors reached on a bobbled fielder’s choice and Maggie Hinson drew a walk to load the bases.
Brittany Case had an RBI single and shortstop Bailey Hughes hit a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Meadors for the final margin.
“We’re excited that we’re back in the state tournament,” Denham Springs coach David Bourque said. “We set the bar high here at Denham Springs. If we play defense behind our pitchers and continue to hit, I think we’ll be tough to beat in Sulphur.”
Fifth-seeded Denham Springs (21-5) advances to a quarterfinal game Friday against No. 4 Mount Carmel. Northshore, the 12th seed, finished 20-7 with its second straight regional appearance.
“We gave it a good shot,” Northshore assistant coach Mike Bourg said. “Denham Springs just hit the ball and we gave up too many runs early. We showed a lot of heart to come back.”
Senior shortstop Sydney Bourg, daughter of Mike Bourg, had three hits and two runs scored. Sabrina Buelle and Hailey Kirkpatrick added two hits each.
Northshore had 11 hits. Missy Clark (20-4) worked two innings and took the loss. Katherine Cognevich pitched the rest of the way.
“I’ve been coaching these girls who are juniors and seniors since they were 10 years old,” Mike Bourg said. “This is the end of something that was special in my life. We really wanted to make it to Sulphur.”
Denham Springs scored five runs in the first innings, three in the second and six in the third to lead 14-2.
Denham Springs pitcher Lucy Lewis (11-2) worked 4 2/3 innings and kept Northshore in check until the fifth inning.
Jessica Dicharla reached base on an error, Bourg singled and Buelle singled to drive in two runs. Northshore’s other two runs in the fifth came on errant pickoff plays. Holley Morrison came on in relief for Denham and got Taylor Estrain to fly out for the third out.
Denham Springs had six errors to four for Northshore.
“We can make errors with the best of them,” Bourque said. “We need to get that cleaned up.”
Denham will bring a .376 team batting average into the state tournament. Freshman catcher Jaden Accardo leads the team with 11 homers.
Case, Hughes and Harli Crow, the first three batters in the order, scored three runs each for Denham. Fucich and Hannah Meadors scored two runs each.
Case led Denham with three hits. Hughes, Kaitlyn Thompson and Fucich had two hits. Hughes and Thompson had three RBIs each.
In the bottom of the third inning, Maggie Hinson hit a bloop RBI single to put Denham up 9-2. Hughes singled to drive in two runs. Crow had an RBI double. Accardo hit a sacrifice grounder to push across another run.