Vinton Softball Semi-Finals Preview

Published: Apr. 26, 2023 at 10:00 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Heading into Vinton’s Bi-District round matchup vs. Basile on April 14th, the Vinton softball team had never won a State Playoff game in program history, fast forward two weeks, and the Lady Lions have rattled off three wins, and find themselves one win away from playing for a State Championship for the first time in school history.

“When I got here six years ago, if you would’ve told me that we’d be going to the semi-finals I would’ve said you were crazy, it just means everything to these girls, there’s been a lot of blood sweat, and tears for the last six years, so it means a ton to the community, to these girls, to me, to my family, it’s just unbelievable,” said head coach Garrett Coppels.

Vinton’s first playoff win came in grand fashion as the eighth-seeded Lady Lions routed 25th-seeded Basile 18-0 in just three innings, and then they kept the momentum going as they beat 9th-seeded Lakeside 10-6 in the Regional round and then pulled off a phenomenal upset by beating top-seeded LaSalle 4-3 in the Quarterfinals to advance to the State Semi-Finals for the first time in school history.

“On our way up there (to LaSalle) we knew it was going to be a tough game, and we knew it was either win or go home, and we knew we needed to go out there and just try our best, and when we won, I re-watched the video, and it was just hard to believe we won because the game was just so close and back-and-forth the whole time, but after a few days it finally sunk in, and now it’s time to focus on continuing this run and focus on winning on Friday,” said Vinton’s Jolie Gary.

Although the Lady Lions are ecstatic to be in the Semi-Finals, and to represent Vinton, and Southwest Louisiana with pride, they want to keep their run going, and hopefully have the chance to play for the Non-Select Division IV title on Saturday.

“It would be insane, like I said, the school has never even been to the semi-finals, any sport actually, so it’s something new for us and I think everyone is excited for it again, and it means a lot to us because we’re out here putting in the work, and it’s something good for ourselves, and for the community,” said Vinton’s Jaycie O’Conner on what a Semi-Finals win on Friday would mean.

“State Championship, I mean that’s all you’ve got to say right there right? A win Friday would mean the world to us, you know win or lose Friday, we’re just so happy, and blessed to be here, but a win to get to the State Championship, not many people get to experience that, that would mean a ton for Southwest Louisiana, but especially for Vinton and our little slice over here on the border,” said coach Coppels.

Friday, and potentially Saturday’s games will be a little different for the Lady Lions, Vinton’s home field is dirt and grass, while the fields at North Frasch Softball Complex, where the Semi-Finals and State Championship will be held, are turf. With Vinton’s lack of experience on turf, the Lady Lions have been practicing on turf ahead of Friday’s game, hoping to get more experience ahead of their showdown with French Settlement.

“The preparation has been difficult, we’ve been going to turf fields making sure we understand the turf, making sure we’re able to recognize what the ball is going to do off the turf, and just making sure we’re as prepared as we can be for Friday’s game,” said O’Conner.

Vinton’s Semi-Final game is set for Friday at 5:00 at North Frasch Softball Complex’s Field 18