Lady 'Hounds Edged by Gators at State
The Marmaduke Lady Greyhounds ended their season with an extra-inning quarterfinal loss to Foreman, in the 2A state softball tournament at Parkers Chapel. The 'Hounds had advanced to the second round with a relatively easy 9-2 win over Hazen.
The Lady Greyhounds got off to a strong start in their game with the Lady Hornets, as starting pitcher Sammi Henry held Hazen scoreless in the top of the first. The 'Hounds then plated two runs in the bottom of the inning to take the early 2-0 lead.
Hazen answered with a run of their own in the top of the second, and the score stood at 2-1 after two. That score stood through the third and fourth innings and the top of the fifth, before the Marmaduke bats erupted in the home half. They scored four runs in the frame, and took a 6-1 lead into the sixth inning.
The Lady Hornets added one more run in the top of the sixth, but the Marmaduke girls answered in the bottom of the inning with three more runs to set the final at 9-2.
Henry got the win, while Allie Burroughs took the loss for Hazen, giving up the 9 runs on 4 hits while walking 3 of the Lady Greyhounds.
With the win on Thursday morning, the 'Hounds advanced to a quarterfinal game Friday afternoon against Foreman. On Thursday Foreman had advanced with a 4-1 win over Hackett.
Henry once again got the nod for the Lady Hounds in their contest with Foreman, while Whitley Storey was in the circle for the Lady Gators.
The Lady 'Hounds took an early 1-0 lead in the first, holding Foreman scoreless in the frame. The 'Hounds added two more in the second, but the Lady Gators answered with five runs of their own, as they took a 5-3 lead. Both teams added a run in the fourth inning, as the score stood at 6-4 in favor of the Foreman.
Going into the last inning the same score stood, and the Lady 'Hounds were down to their last outs. Natalie Lentz lead off with a walk, forcing a pitching change by the Lady Gators to Laken Cauley. Henry then drew a walk, and Tabitha Hyten was called out on strikes. Brittany Banning was up next, and had a strong at-bat, drawing the one out walk to load the bases.
Bailey Bridges then came to the plate, and got a hit to score two, and tie the ballgame at 6-6. Natalie Shelton made the second out on a fielder's choice, and April Kennedy grounded out to end the inning.
This forced the game into an extra frame, and the international tie-breaker rule, which starts each half inning with a runner at second. In the eighth inning the Lady Gators erupted for eight unanswered runs, and chased Henry after she gave up a two out home run. Jordan Mays came on in relief and got the final outs. In the home half Kennedy led off and reached base. Rachel Martin then drew a walk, and would eventually come around to score Marmaduke's final run. Mays popped-up and was out by way of the infield fly rule, and Kennedy was caught off base for the second out. Lentz drew another walk, and Henry drove a shot to the wall to score Martin. But, the threat was ended as Hyten popped up an 0-2 pitch and the Foreman first baseman snagged it in an outstanding defensive effort.
On the game the Lady 'Hounds scored their 7 runs on 7 hits with 9 walks and 3 strikeouts.
"You know their effort is always nonstop, they're fierce competitors and great kids, and that's what I love about them," Coach Rick Smith said of his Lady Greyhound squad following the contest. "This is the first year I've coached them in softball, and I'm really glad I took the job, I've really enjoyed it. And, I can tell the rest of these teams, we will be back."
Of the Foreman contest, Smith noted the team had their chances. "We had the chance to beat their tails in the seventh inning but didn't, we didn't take care of business," he observed. "And, guess what--they beat our tails in the eighth, they took care of business. But we had our chances."
With the loss to Foreman the Lady Greyhounds end the season as 2A-3 district regular season and tournament champions, and 2A-North regional champs with a record of 25-3.
On Saturday the Foreman girls fell to Spring Hill 6-3 in the semi-finals, while in the lower half of the bracket the host Parker's Chapel girls fell to Hector 4-0. This sets up the 2A state softball final between Spring Hill and Hector at 10 a.m. Friday in Fayetteville.