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Contributing Writer

Photograph: Courtesy of Jacques Soileau, Port Barre High Softball Coach

Class 2A Semifinal: Port Barre meets Kinder Friday at noon in Sulphur.Season recap: Port Barre (25-4) is in a semifinal playoff game for the first time in 20 years. The Red Devils were 14-10 last season.

Through the playoffs: Port Barre a No. 2 seed has defeated Lake Arthur (15-0), Loreauville (4-1) and Winnfield (7-0). Kinder is seeded third.

From the coach: Red Devils’ softball coach Jacques Soileau says a number of factors have helped Port Barre this season: “I think the big thing for us has been our maturity and cutting down on errors. Our number of strikeouts has been cut down and our walks at the plate are increased.”

There’s a stability component. Here’s what Soileau says about that: “One thing that has helped is the players realize now that the coaching staff they have is going to be with them. When we got here, the program had something like seven coaches in nine year. That’s not the kind of recipe you use for success.”

Who are these players? This is how Soileau sizes up his starters: (Catcher) Denay Latiolais is a freshman who started as an eighth grader. (First base) Erin Duval is a defensive specialist that Soileau thinks might be the best in the state. (Second base) Rebecca Stelly Her versatility allows her to play just about anywhere. She’s also batting above .400 (Shortstop) Lacey Bergeron. Soileau calls her “steady, automatic” defensively. (Third base) Stelly, Sam Daniels or Blaire Young. (Outfield) Malania Francis is a returning all-state selection. (Outfield) Alyssa Davis. Soileau says she has amazing athletic ability and exceptional speed. (Outfield) Reagan Martinez. The lineup’s slap hitter who bats down in the order and moves around runners. (Pitchers) Centenary signee Emma Crow, Sam Daniels, Blaire Young. Crow is a senior, Daniels and Young are sophomores.

The playoff mindset: “The girls have done what they set out to do and they remember last year when we lost in the second round after leading 10-1. They were determined not to let that happen again. If we play like we are supposed to we can win.” – Jacques Soileau