- Tyler Moody
It has been a dismal season for high school sports around the Shreveport-Bossier area, to say the least. We watched our area go without winning a state title in football, basketball (men’s and women’s) and softball for the first time in many, many years.
Now, with the LHSAA baseball playoffs down to their final weekend in Sulphur, our only hope for a state championship in the Northeast section of the state depends on the Benton Tigers.
This Benton Tiger (29-13-1) baseball team has been one of the best teams in the area this year and came into post-season play as the 9-seed in 4A.
The Tigers were tested right out of the gate against #24 Pearl River in a 3-2 7-inning thriller. Benton carried the momentum from their first round win into a 3-game series against #8 Belle Chase. The Tigers wouldn’t need a third game in the series, though. After winning the first game 7-3 in 7-innings, Benton and Belle Chase would produce an epic 15-inning playoff battle that ultimately saw the boys from Benton Road take home a 9-8 victory.
After the first two rounds the Tigers carried an undefeated playoff record down to face the favorite #1 Breaux Bridge. Benton came out and blanked Breaux Bridge 7-0 with an amazing pitching performance to open up the series. BB would battle back and snare a 5-3 victory in game 2. That set the stage for a winner-take-all showdown, a spot that Benton seems to thrive on. After 7 innings the two teams were locked in a 3-3 stalemate, until Benton drove in 2 runs in the top of the 9th to knock off the top seed and secure a birth in the LHSAA State Tournament.
A trip down to Sulphur and a semi-final match-up against #5 West Ouachita is now on tap for the Tigers from Benton. If Benton were to win, waiting on the other side of the bracket in 4A is #3 Deridder and the Cinderella of the baseball season #31 Westgate.
Can Benton bring home a title for Shreveport-Bossier? Or will the Red River Cities go without a major state championship in 2018?