Lady Mohawks Stumble in Quarterfinals

Thursday, May 19, 2016
Lady Mohawk senior third baseman Taylor Choate fires to first for an out in the first round game against Paris. Pictured in the background is another senior, shortstop Devyn Staples.(TD photo/Tim Blair)

The Piggott Lady Mohawk's run into the 3A state softball tournament last week was a bit of a rollercoaster of an experience for the squad. Coming out of the Region 3 tournament at Harrison as champs, they drew a first round game with Paris in the state tourney at Smackover/Norphlet. In their first round match-up, played at Norphlet, they watched the Lady Eagles jump out to a quick 3-0 lead in the top of the first, only to have the game interrupted for 30 minutes due to lightning. Following the delay Paris tacked on two more runs, putting the Tribe in an early 5-0 hole.

The Mohawks failed to score in the home half of the first, but held Paris scoreless in the top of the second. In the bottom of the inning they tacked on two runs, to cut the lead to 5-2, a score that would stand until the end of the ballgame.

Piggott right hander Hannah Powell then settled-in and held the Lady Eagles scoreless the remainder of the contest. Then, down to their final outs, the Lady Mohawks responded in the home half of the seventh inning with a four run barrage, to take the contest by final of 6-5.

Hannah Powell delivers to a Paris batter, as first baseman Grayson Murray looks on.(TD photos/Tim Blair)

Powell worked all seven innings, giving up 12 hits, walking 2 and striking out 2 in getting the win. As a team the Lady Mohawks scored their 6 runs on 13 hits, but committed 4 errors.

Braelyn Rhodes led the offense with a 3 for 3 day at the plate with one run scored and one RBI. Ally Kilbreath was 2 for 2 and scored 2 runs; Powell went 2 for 3 with an RBI; Devyn Staples was 2 for 4, scored a run and drove in a pair of runs; Taylor Choate was 1 for 3 with an RBI and MaKalia Beck and Lexi Herren were 1 for 3 and each scored a run. Meanwhile, Shelby Morgan and Grayson Murray were hitless on the game.

With the win over Paris, the Lady Mohawks earned a spot in the elite eight and a Friday afternoon showdown with Harmony Grove, and WBC signee L.J. Helmich. In a game played at Smackover High School, Helmich almost single-handedly beat the Tribe. She set the tone in the top of the first inning with a three-run homerun to give the Lady Cardinals the early lead. She added another run on a solo shot in the top of the sixth, and pitched a one-hit, one-walk game from the circle in notching the 4-0 win. Powell worked the game for the Tribe, pitching all seven innings and taking the loss. On the day she gave up the 4 runs on 7 hits, walking 3 and striking out 2 of the Lady Cardinals in the process.

"I just love these girls, they played their hearts out--and they didn't give up," noted Lady Mohawk Head Coach Nikki Speer following the game. "And, they have really set the bar high for teams that are coming up in the next few years. These girls have done more, and gone farther, than we have in a really, really long time, and I'm proud of them."

Of the come-from-behind win the previous day over Paris she added, "they just came out and finished strong, and I kept waiting for that to happen today. And, although it didn't I'm still proud of them, they gave it all they had."

Saturday the Lady Cardinals faced Rose Bud, and dropped a 2-1 decision to the Lady Ramblers. In the lower half of the bracket defending state champion Bald Knob downed Genoa Central 8-0, setting up Friday morning's state final at Fayetteville.

As for the Lady Mohawks, they lose a handful of talented seniors to graduation in Devyn Staples, MaKalia Beck, Shelby Morgan, Tara Vaughn and Taylor Choate. But, on the bright side they also return a wealth of talent from this year's elite eight state tourney team for Coach Speer and Assistant Coach Melissa Turner.

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