Many softball goes back-2-back, takes state again

As soon as a team wins a championship, the question gets asked: can you win it again next year?

For the Many High softball team, that answer is an emphatic YES.

The Lady Tigers finally got a test in the state championship game Saturday, but teams that don’t score, don’t win. Port Barre could not solve the arm of tournament MVP Tia Holmes or the Many defense, and could not get on the board.

A 3-0 win was more than enough to end the 2022 season exactly the way the team and coach Keaton Booker planned from when they celebrated their 2021 state title, the first in the softball program’s history.

The 2022 Class 2A champions outscored their playoff opponents 62-4 in five games, including an 11-0 destruction of Doyle in Friday’s semifinals as Many blasted seven home runs to back up Holmes’ perfect game – no runs, no hits, and behind her, no errors.

The Lady Tigers (29-4) got only one over the fence Saturday, a two-run shot by Camryn Ford in the bottom of the third. That came an inning after Kristen Martinez cracked an RBI double to put the champs up 1-0.

Port Barre’s best chance came in the top of the first when the Devils got runners on second and third with one out, but Holmes and the flawless Many defense came up with the outs and kept the losers (23-6) in neutral the rest of the way.

The Lady Tigers have won their first two state championships in the past two seasons. While some outstanding seniors are headed off to college, some to continue softball careers, most of the 18 girls on the 2022 Many team will be back on the diamond next spring, hoping to add to the fast-growing championship tradition.

Booker’s second season ended like the first one. He’s the first to share the credit with his assistant coaches: Josh Jenkins, Dayton Craig, and his wife, the Lady Tigers’ pitching coach, Emma Callie Booker.

Congratulations also should be extended to Sabine Parish’s other state tournament team, the Florien Lady Black Cats. They gave defending state Class B champion Holden all it could handle in Friday’s semifinals, but in a see-saw game, Holden made a late surge and eliminated Florien 10-6.

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