KINDER — It just wasn't meant to be.

KINDER — It just wasn't meant to be.

The ninth-ranked Pickering Lady Red Devils fell just short of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association state softball tournament, dropping a 5-2 decision to the eighth-seeded Kinder Lady Jackets on Friday in the Class 2A playoffs.

With the win, Kinder improved to 19-11 overall, advancing to the state quarterfinals and a matchup against top-ranked Rosepine at 2:30 p.m. Thursday at Frasch Park in Sulphur. Pickering closed out its season with a mark of 20-14.

The Lady Red Devils took the initial lead of the game in the top of the first inning.

Senior Summer Atkins singled to center, took second on a sacrifice bunt from Ryenn Lawrence and reached third on a groundout by Allie Brister.

After Shay Petty drew a walk to put runners at the corners with two outs, Spring Atkins laced a single to right field to score her older sister for a 1-0 lead.

The Lady Jackets answered with a solo homer off the bat of Balie Treme in the bottom of the first to tie the game. Spring Atkins, who started in the circle for the Lady Red Devils, struck out the next batter to escape further damage.

Pickering reclaimed the lead in the second when Jaden Davis drew a walk and scored on a 2-out, RBI-double from Summer Atkins, moving out to a 2-1 advantage.

The error bug jumped up and bit Pickering in the bottom of the frame as Kinder scored a pair of unearned runs to take a 3-2 edge.

The Lady Red Devils had an opportunity in the top of the third to put some more runs on the board as Spring Atkins and Madison Shaff had back-to-back singles with two outs. However, they were stranded as Kinder pitcher Sarah Gartman struck out the next batter.

Kinder pushed an unearned run across in the fourth inning off of Summer Atkins, who replaced her younger sister in the circle in the bottom of the second with two outs. The Lady Jackets extended the lead to 4-2 when Laura Gartman singled, took second on an error and scored on Kate Trahan's RBI-single to center.

The Lady Jackets got their final run of the game in the top of the fifth when Sarah Estes connected on a solo homer for a 5-2 Kinder advantage.

Pickering went down in order in the sixth and managed just a 1-out single from Lawrence in the seventh as the Lady Red Devils fell just short of reaching the state tournament for the first time in school history.

Spring Atkins, who went 3-for-3 at the plate with an RBI, gave up three runs on four hits in an inning and two thirds to take the loss. Summer Atkins, who went 2-for-3 with a double, a run scored and an RBI, pitched the final four and a third innings, giving up two runs on four hits with four strikeouts.

Lawrence and Shaff had the other hits for the Lady Red Devils.

Sarah Gartman gave up two runs on seven hits with nine strikeouts and three walks, while Treme and Estes each had a homer. Destiny Seemion had two hits in three plate appearances for Kinder.