MOSS BLUFF – The Natchitoches Central softball team got the big knock it needed Thursday afternoon when Sydney Terrell cracked a tie-breaking three-run home run in the fifth inning of their Class 5A second-round playoff game at Sam Houston.
But the Lady Broncs returned the favor in the bottom of the inning, coming back with a three-run homer to draw even at 5-5.
An inning later, Sam Houston scored the decisive run on a one-out single to right field, the third base hit in that at-bat for the Lady Broncs.
Holding that 6-5 lead and needing only three outs, Sam Houston had to navigate the top of the Lady Chiefs’ batting order, a daunting task. But it wasn’t to be from NCHS players who contributed four hits and four runs in the contest. The visitors went down 1-2-3 in their final at bat.
Both teams had eight hits. NCHS never trailed until the bottom of the sixth.
The Lady Chiefs opened the game scoring a pair of runs. Singles by Desi Robinson and Cat Stokes to start the contest paid off when Morgan Dawson doubled them in with two outs.
Sam Houston posted one in the bottom of the first and tied the game with another run n the bottom of the fourth, the first of three straight innings that the Lady Broncs lit up the scoreboard.
Robinson and Stokes led off the fifth inning with base hits and jogged home when Terrell blasted it over the left field fence for the short-lived 5-2 lead.
With the comeback, Sam Houston, which won four state championships from 2011-15, advanced to the state quarterfinals for the first time since 2017.
NCHS finished 21-10 with another one of the stronger seasons in school history, coming on the heels of last spring’s state quarterfinal appearance.
In the 5A bracket seedings, determined by LHSAA power points, Sam Houston was No. 8 and NCHS was No. 9. There wasn’t much difference when the bracket came out, and Thursday, there was just the slightest of difference after the final out.