For Sydnee Davis, Frasch Park is the perfect place to end her high school softball career.
Sydnee Davis was in no hurry to leave the ballpark following Friday's 11-0 Class 2A second round playoff victory over Lake Arthur.
Sterlington's lone senior, the Baton Rouge Community College signee filled a plastic jar with infield dirt as a keepsake from her final game at Panther Park. Though it was an emotional time, the joy of the moment overwhelmed any sadness. Just as she had always hoped, Davis' high school career will end in Sulphur at the Fastpitch 56 State Tournament.
"Honestly, this is the best thing that has happened to me since I've been in high school," Davis said. "It's unbelievable, really."
Following back-to-back first-round playoff exits in 2014 and 2015, the Lady Panthers reached the second round last year. Her senior year would be her final chance to play in the State Tournament.
"I've been wanting to go to Sulphur since my freshman year, but I was beginning to think I was never going," Davis said. "Now that we're going, it's the best thing ever."
As a junior, Davis helped the Lady Panthers win the state powerlifting championship. But nothing compares to the opportunity to play in Sulphur.
"Winning state in powerlifting was amazing — don't get me wrong — but softball has been the biggest thing in my life since I was 6 years old."
Davis said she began to believe this could be the Lady Panthers' year when Jennifer Hickman was hired over the summer.
"At the beginning of the year, when coach Hickman came in, I knew we had a chance," Davis said. "I knew she was going to push us harder than we have every been pushed. I knew we had to come out and finish the job, and that's exactly what we did."
A left-handed batter and proficient slapper, Davis has settled in at center field after playing multiple positions throughout her career. She is batting .333 with a .479 on base percentage and 24 runs. In 98 plate appearances, she has drawn 18 walks while striking out only five times.
Sterlington will play Doyle at 2:30 p.m. in the quarterfinals.
"We just have to take it out-by-out, inning-by-inning, just live we have done all year," Davis said. "It's just going to depend on who shows up. I think we're going to show up and fight our way through it."
Thursday can't arrive soon enough for Davis.
"This is what I've been wanting forever," she said.