DeRIDDER — Last year, the Vernon American Sweetees captured the state championship.

DeRIDDER — Last year, the Vernon American Sweetees captured the state championship.

And although only one player, Maycee Holt, remains from last year’s championship squad, the team is looking to repeat as state champs.

They got off on the right foot on Friday night at DeRidder’s West Park with a 26-25 victory over the West Monroe Nationals in the first round of the state tournament.

With the victory, the Vernon American squad advanced to the second round on Saturday, where they played two games.

West Monroe got off to a fast start by plating six runs in the top of the first, but Vernon was able to answer with nine runs in the bottom half.

After limiting West Monroe to two runs in the second, Vernon built a 12-8 lead heading into the third when a rain and lightning delay temporarily suspended play.

Upon resuming play, West Monroe took a 13-12 lead, only to see Vernon open up a 19-13 advantage.

West Monroe pushed five runs across in the fourth to close to one, but Vernon answered with seven in the bottom half to take a 26-18 lead.

In the final inning, West Monroe managed to get seven runs, but it wasn’t enough as Vernon got the win.

Calyn Lambert led the way with three hits, including a three-run homer and a double. She had a total of six RBIs.

Savanna Westbrooks had four hits and three RBIs, while Bella Bailey had three hits and three RBIs.

Kynlie Wilson added a pair of doubles, while Raleigh Graham had two doubles. McKenzie Grover contributed a triple and a double as well.

The Vernon American squad collected a total of 36 hits in the contest, including nine extra-base hits in the victory over the squad from West Monroe.