DERIDDER – The Leesville offense found success with the long ball, but DeRidder did not let the Lady Cats run away with the win.

Leesville hit four home runs in its 14-10 win over DeRidder Tuesday night at DeRidder High School.

"It was rough," Leesville head coach Betty Hicks said. "Hitting wise, this is probably the first time they have been truly challenged, and they got comfortable. They let them sneak up on them."

The Lady Cats are the No. 1 team in Class 4A in the most recent Power Rankings and are out to a 16-1 start.

"These seniors were my big group as freshmen, so they've been on the field for four years," Hicks said. "I think, this year, they really bonded and gelled together. The seniors have taken a leadership role. They have a good sisterhood.

"We knew we had the talent, but it's been about getting them to believe that they have the talent."

DeRidder, the defending Class 4A State Champions, answered every run Leesville threw its way.

"From day one, I knew we had good potential," DeRidder head coach Todd Schulz said. "We have five new starters, but we've had a lot of girls step in. When you're down 13-3 and make it a 14-10 ballgame, you can't really complain too much."

Leesville went up 3-0 in the first inning after a two-run home run by Keyana Poteat. Poteat had a monster afternoon, going 3-for-3 with two home runs and four RBIs.

"Anytime you give up a long ball it's hard to come back from it," Schulz said. "We didn't hit our spots in crucial situations."

Poteat hit her second home run of the game – a shot to left field that ended up in the football team's practice field – to put Leesville up 5-1, but DeRidder got a pair of runs back as Aubrey Joslin scored on a pass ball and Rayann Bomboy crossed home on a third strike drop.

In the top of the fifth, the Lady Cats began to pull away, starting with a solo home run by Bella Houck.

With the bases loaded later in the inning, Houck hit a grand slam to put Leesville up 13-3.

Houck went 4-for-5 with five RBIs.

"We're solid throughout our lineup," Hicks said. "We've spent hours and hours in the cage and in the field. We're solid one through nine, and they all rely on each other. They know if somebody fails, someone is going to pick them up."

DeRidder (11-12, 3-3) scored four in the bottom of the fifth to avoid the 10-run rule and added two in the bottom of the sixth to get back in the game.

"We're going to fight," Schulz said. "That's something we established early this year. We're not going to give up, and we've done that all season. We've been down six or seven runs in different situations. This one was 10 runs, but we bounced back. We have a desire to win."

Ryleigh Hicks doubled to center to score Ariel Thomas to extend the Leesville lead, and the Lady Dragons added just one more in the bottom of the seventh.

Thomas and Hicks each picked up a pair of hits, and Maddie Phillips went 4-for-5 from the plate and threw seven innings, giving up eight hits and striking out seven.

"We really worked on her conditioning this year," Hicks said. "I think, more than anything, she knows they are behind her. She believes in them and if you can keep her solid and sound, she's hard to stop."

Joslin went 2-for-4 with four runs scored, and Bomboy went 2-for-5. Leah Spears went 2-for-4 and drove in four runs.