Southside gets the edge in playoff thriller at Haughton

INFIELD ANCHOR: Haughton shortstop Brooklyn Bockhaus put up an impressive defensive effort during the Lady Bucs’ first-round loss to Southside Tuesday afternoon.

By HARRIET PROTHRO PENROD, Journal Sports

A back-and-forth, evenly matched game is what you would expect when the Nos. 16- and 17-seeded teams meet in the postseason. That’s exactly what happened when the Southside Lady Sharks traveled from Youngsville to Haughton to take on the Lady Bucs in the first round of the Division 5A softball playoffs Tuesday afternoon.

“That was perhaps the best 16 versus 17 game you could have expected,” said Southside coach Ashley Ray. “I figured it would be neck-and-neck, and it was.”

In a hard-fought, punch/counter-punch battle, Southside (18-10) came out on top 6-5 to advance to the second round and a Thursday matchup at No. 1-seeded Pineville.

Down by one, Haughton (16-13) fought all the way to the end. Kayleigh Goss drove a single down the first-base line to start the bottom of the seventh inning. Goss moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kylie Small and then tagged up and moved to third on a long fly out by Brooklyn Bockhaus. When Ariana Mathews drew a walk, the Lady Bucs had the tying run at third and the winning run at first.

Haughton’s valiant fight ended when Southside pitcher Brooklyn Foreman struck out Ella Vickers to give the Sharks the victory. Foreman struck out nine and gave up just five hits in the complete-game performance.

Despite the agonizing loss, Haughton coach Leanne Prather was optimistic about the Lady Bucs’ future.

“We’ve had some high highs, and some low lows,” Prather said. “We started just two seniors this year. We’re very young, and we will build on that.”

Freshman pitcher Dixie Williams put up a valiant fight for Haughton, giving up six runs on five hits and striking out five. Macey Schut came in and gave up one hit in 1.2 innings of work.

“Dixie looked very comfortable out there for us,” said Prather. “She is very good at hiding her emotions. I think she mentally handled the pressure very well.”

Southside put the pressure on in the top of the sixth inning, scoring three runs on five singles to take a 6-4 lead. Avery Phillips started the bottom of the sixth with a home run over the left field wall to bring the Bucs within one but Foreman got Laney Dobrow to foul out and then struck out Sara White and Schut to shut down the comeback.

Southside got on the board first on a solo home run by Ali Moss in the top of the second. Haughton fought right back to even the score in the bottom half on an RBI double from Goss. The Sharks put another run on the board in the top of the third on a Haughton error.

The Bucs fought back to tie it up at 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI double off the centerfield wall by White. Moss’ one-out RBI double in the top of the fifth gave the lead back to the Sharks.

Haughton responded – again – in the bottom of the fifth to take a 4-3 lead with RBIs from Bockhaus and Mathews. But the visitors regained the advantage in their next at-bat.

Goss went 3-for-3 with one RBI, Phillips was 1-for-2 with one RBI and two runs scored, and White finished 1-for-3 with one RBI for the Lady Bucs. The Sharks were led by Moss, who was 2-for-3 with 2 RBIs on a double and home run.

Photo by JOHN PENROD