Sulphur is calling for the Neville softball team after a 5-3 road playoff victory against No. 5 North Vermilion in a quarterfinal tilt Friday afternoon.
For the second time in school history, Neville will play a semifinal game in softball.
Neville will face No. 1 North DeSoto at 3 p.m. Friday in the Class 4A semifinals, where a familiar face will welcome the Lady Tigers.
"Well, we know Tim Whitman," Neville head coach Trey Dozier said. "He coached all those years at Ouachita, so we know he's going to be prepared for us. In return, we have prepared for him. He's got a pretty young team with a freshman pitcher, but we just have to be ready."
The Lady Tigers were eliminated by North DeSoto the last time they reached the Class 4A semifinals, so there's an extra layer of history between these two clubs.
Before the Lady Tigers clinched their spot in the bracket, there was adversity to overcome.
The No. 4 Lady Tigers had a sluggish start, as they found themselves down 3-0 after the first two innings. An RBI double, groundout and error gave the Lady Patriots the lead at home.
Errors and missed opportunities didn’t do Neville any favors early on, as Neville left runners on base in the first two innings to start the game also.
The Lady Tigers made their move in the third inning, though. With no outs and runners on the corner, Lela Hansen laid down a sacrifice bunt, but the play went awry. North Vermilion’s pitcher fielded the ball cleanly and threw out Neville’s lead base runner at home plate. But that was when Neville's luck began to change.
With the bases juiced with one out, Kaitlyn “KK” Worsham hit a grand slam for the second consecutive playoff game.
"She's hot right now," Dozier said.
That put the Lady Tigers up 4-3, as Addie Nickelson hung zeroes in the next five frames. Nickelson allowed one earned run on five hits and no walks. Nickelson recorded her fourth strikeout of the game for the final out of the game.
Worsham’s RBI single added an insurance run in the seventh inning. Ellie Loftin, who reached on a double, scored on Worsham’s single in the top of the inning. Worsham has totaled 12 RBIs in the Lady Tigers' previous two playoff games.
Neville tallied 11 hits in the victory.