Lady Cougars Are District Champs
The Rector Lady Cougars continued to roll through the late season, as they pounded Bay and Armorel last week to win the 1A blended district softball title. In addition to winning the tournament, the RHS girls were also regular season champs. They're slated to take on Izard County Consolidated in the first round of the regional tournament at 3 p.m. Friday, in what will be a home game for ICC.
After seeing first round play backed-up due to wet weather, tournament organizers played all four of the games in one day at Armorel High School. For the Lady Cougars, as district champs and the top seed they earned a first round match-up with the Bay Lady Yellowjackets.
Riding another strong pitching performance by senior Maddie Hobbs, the Rector girls advanced with a 9-5 win over the Lady Yellowjackets, and an afternoon showdown with the host Lady Tigers for the title.
In the championship game the Lady Cougars continued to perform in the field, and at the plate, and behind Hobbs' performance beat Armorel by a final of 7-3.
“We didn't play as well as we could, but we played good enough to win it,” Coach David Hendrix said of the team's performance.
Hobbs was dominate on the day, working to 65 batters in the twin-bill, and at one time retiring 11 in a row. On the day she allowed a total of eight runs on 12 hits, striking out 16 and walking only five batters and hitting another.
The Lady Cougars also turned-in a good performance at the plate, with every player in the lineup scoring at least one run in the two game set. Alexis McKnight drove in a pair of runs and scored four as she went 3 for 4 and 4 for 6; Mylesa Gant scored three runs and drove in two as she was 2 for 4 and 3 for 4; Haleigh Ellis scored three runs and drove in one; Sawyer Hendrix and Hobbs drove in a pair of runs and scored one; Colbie Robinson and Maddison Stokes drove in a run and scored another while Shianne Rients and Michaela Rients each scored a run for RHS.
As ball fans are well aware, not all of the keys to winning show up in the box score. A good example for the Rector softball squad was a marathon at-bat by junior Sawyer Hendrix.
“She had a 20 pitch at-bat at one point, and fouled-off 16 pitches before she finally drew a walk,” the coach noted. This type of dogged determination has been the earmark for the Lady Cougar team this year, and a key component to their great success.
With the wins the Rector girls earned the district tourney title, and a first round game with the host Lady Cougars of Izard County Consolidated on Thursday at Brockwell. The ICC girls sport an overall record of 3-13 as they were 2-10 in conference play. With a win, the Rector girls will advance to take on the winner of the Viola-Bay first round contest on Saturday. The Lady Longhorns are expected to roll over the Lady Yellowjackets, as they bring a 19-4 record into the contest.
In the upper half of the bracket, Calico Rock takes on Maynard in the first round with Armorel and Hillcrest meeting in the other contest. The winner will meet as well on Saturday, with the seeding game and championship contest to follow.
All four of the semi-finalist will advance to the 1A state softball tournament, set for May 10 to 12, and hosted by Mountain Home Parks and Recreation.