Last season, DeRidder fell just short of making the trip to Sulphur, but with its win over Buckeye, the Dragons are state bound.

DeRidder defeated Buckeye 6-0 in game three of a best-of-three series Friday at DeRidder High School.

The Dragons defeated Buckeye 1-0 in the game one Thursday night behind seven innings of shutout pitching by Chipper Menard.

Menard struck out 15 and allowed just one hit as the Dragons took a 1-0 lead in the series.

"They are an aggressive offensive team," DeRidder head coach Chad Menard said. "He was able to mix it up well where they weren't able to sit on anything. Chipper executed and was in the zone."

DeRidder scored its lone run in the bottom of the first inning when Laron White drove in Menard from second base.

DeRidder recorded just five hits against in the first game against Buckeye, a district opponent it saw twice during the regular season.

"It's still stressful," Menard said. "There's a comfort level when you know what you're going to face, but it's the playoffs, and Buckeye has been playing well. They were scary when we played them in districts.

"Their pitcher did a good job, and they made some adjustments from when we played them in the regular season. They improved."

The Dragons continued their series on Friday, but they were unable to close out the series in the first game of the day.

The Panthers defeated DeRidder 6-2 in game two by scoring two runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth inning.

The Dragons led early, scoring a run in the top of the first inning on an RBI single by Parker Taylor and extended the lead in the third inning on a sac fly by Laron White to score Cameron LeJeune from third base.

However, DeRidder was unable to get any more runs across as Buckeye tied the series, 1-1.

In game three, Menard handed the ball to Lane Neely who delivered for the Dragons.

Neely shut out Buckeye, striking out 13 over seven innings, to lead DeRidder to the state semifinals.

"When the coaches put together the proposal to do two-out-of-three, it was a team thing where you wanted to develop a pitching staff and not have one pitcher get you to the state championship," Menard said Thursday night. "Our team has that. We have two No. 1s, but I'm very confident in the next guys down the line too."

The offense gave Neely plenty of support, scoring three runs in the first inning and two in the second inning on a two-run double by Taylor.

Taylor went 2-for-4 with three RBIs, and Neely helped himself out, going 1-for-3 with a pair of RBIs.

No. 3 DeRidder takes on No. 31 Westgate in the state semifinals on Friday at 1:30 p.m. at McMurry Park in Sulphur.

Westgate upset No. 2 Tioga in the second round before knocking off Warren Easton in the second round and No. 23 Rayne in the quarterfinals.