Cabrini’s finest season has silver (trophy) lining
You can almost hear the collective sigh of relief among high school softball batters around the state.
Karli Perque has thrown her final strike while wearing a Cabrini uniform.
The tall right-hander’s career didn’t end the way she and her Crescent teammates would have wanted.
She may have attained personal glory in her final appearance at the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA State Softball Tournament, but the prize she and the Crescents really wanted to bring home was a state championship.
But they came close; closer than they had ever come in two trips since 2011.
After defeating four Class 4A playoff opponents by a combined score of 38 runs to 2, Cabrini and Perque’s gold rush came to an end via a 3-0 defeat to No. 1 seed North DeSoto in a weather-delayed championship game on April 30.
The combination of Perque’s pitching, coupled with the Crescents’ overall hitting and sound defense, crushed Minden, 15-0, in the bi-district round; Grant, 10-0, in the regional round; Bastrop, 11-1, in the quarterfinals, and then eliminated West Ouachita, 2-1, in the semis.
It was West Ouachita that eliminated Cabrini in the 2014 regional round when the Crescents were the No. 1 seed.
Perque entered the tournament on April 29 with 998 career strikeouts. She reached 1,000 after striking out the first and third Bastrop batters in the first inning.
And it was fitting that she would face her nemesis from defending 4A champion North DeSoto, Emma Callie Delafield, for the championship.
It was a loss to Delafield and North DeSoto that eliminated the Crescents in the 2015 semifinal round.
To even the most prolific batters in Louisiana prep softball, trying to get a hit off either right-hander was about as much fun as interpreting Herman Melville without a thesaurus in the other hand.
Perque struck out five batters and limited the hard-hitting Lady Griffs to four hits. Delafield answered by throwing a one-hitter and fanning 11 Cabrini batters.
The gold-bloused Crescents had to settle for the silver trophy that signifies the state runner-up. It wasn’t the one they sought, but one that will adorn the school’s trophy case nevertheless.
Perque will move on to Jones County (MS) Community College, and next season Cabrini coaches Shannon and Ira Austin will see a different pitcher for the first time in five years.
The LHSAA softball page shows that Cabrini has been a state playoff participant since at least 2003. There’s no reason to believe that will end with Perque’s departure.