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GHS girls winning behind strong pitching

By Richard White

Including the week before spring break, the Greenwood Lady Bulldogs’ softball squad is 10-3 over the past three weeks, mostly based on the strength of their pitching staff, led by junior Victoria Taylor, who has hurled a pair of no-hitters since mid-March. The GHS girls also won all four of their 7A/6A Central conference games during that stretch.

Taylor pitched the first of her two no-hit gems on March 18th on the road against league foe Van Buren, winning 3-0. Greenwood scored a solo tally in the top of the fourth inning and a pair of insurance runs in the seventh on six total hits. The defense was also flawless behind Taylor, who struck out 13 of the 21 Lady Pointers she retired, walking just one hitter.

Offensively, sophomore Syndey Parker and senior Devyn Gregory had two hits each for the Lady Bulldogs. Junior Kelsey Knox had a pair of runs batted in while Parker plated one run with her two hits.

The following day, March 19th, the GHS girls hosted a conference doubleheader against the Belles of Mount St. Mary from Little Rock, winning both games handily. The Lady Bulldogs’ offense exploded for 32 runs in just nine innings of play, wearing out MSM pitching, winning 17-0 and 15-2.

Plating three runs in the first frame of game one, and one more in the second inning, the home team led 4-0 going into the bottom of the third before scoring 13 runs against the overmatched Belles, who didn’t help themselves by making six defensive errors in the game.

Leading 17-0, the game was shortened by the mercy rule and ended after MSM batted in the top of the fifth. The visitors managed just one hit against Greenwood pitching that included both Victoria Taylor, who started the game and went three innings, and reliever Kaila Cartwright, who pitched the final two frames to preserve the shutout.

On offense, the Lady Bulldogs were led by senior Sydnie Henson and sophomores Phoebe Ulmer and Tatum Holland, all with two hits each. Greenwood pounded out 14 total hits in the game. Ulmer, Syndey Parker, and Devyn Gregory all had two RBIs in the contest.

In game two against the Belles, junior Kelsey Knox got the start and threw four frames before being relieved by sophomore Madison Lawler in the fifth and final inning. Greenwood scored four times in the first inning, then added six runs in the third and five more in the fourth. MSM scored twice in the third inning to prevent another shutout, aided by three GHS errors.

The Lady Bulldogs banged out 13 hits in the game, led by seniors Madison Jewell and Danae Lewis, and junior Mikayleigh Davis, all with two hits apiece. Jewell added a pair of RBIs, as did senior Abbey Lejong. Lewis also had a run batted in with her two hits.

During spring break week the GHS girls traveled to Central Arkansas to take part in the Beebe and Cabot tournament on Saturday, March 28th. In their opening round game the Lady ‘Dogs played the junior varsity squad from Cabot, a 7A school, and dropped a 3-1 decision. All tournament games were time-limited and most were halted after five innings.

The home team, Greenwood scored in the bottom of the first inning, and led 1-0 until Cabot tied the game in the top of the fourth. The visitors then plated two runs in the top of the fifth to notch the victory, despite getting only three hits in the game. They were assisted by three GHS defensive errors.

Cabot also made three miscues in the field, but the Lady Bulldogs could muster only four hits in the game, two of those by Mikayleigh Davis. Kelsey Knox was the starting hurler for Greenwood and pitched into the fifth inning before being relieved by Victoria Taylor. Knox had six Ks in the game, but took the loss.

In game two of tournament play, Greenwood defeated Class 5A Batesville by an identical score of 3-1 behind the complete game effort of Victoria Taylor, who had 10 strikeouts in the contest.

Greenwood scored solo runs in the first, second, and fifth innings, while the Lady Pioneers scored only in the third inning. Both teams made an error in the game, and the Lady Bulldogs had six hits to just four for Batesville. Mikayleigh Davis and Syndey Parker had two hits each for Greenwood and accounted for all three RBIs, two by Parker.

Playing their third game of the day, the Lady Bulldogs took care of Harrisburg, a small school from Northeast Arkansas, 8-1, out-hitting their opponents 11-1. Greenwood scored once in the bottom of the first and three times each in the third and fourth innings, before adding a single tally in the bottom of the fifth before the game ended.

Victoria Taylor threw all five innings for Greenwood, giving up a single run in the fourth inning. She also fanned 11 Harrisburg hitters. Syndey Parker had a big game offensively with four hits and two RBIs. Mikayleigh Davis and Sydnie Henson also added two hits each, with Phoebe Ulmer getting two RBIs as well. Madison Jewell also knocked in a run for Greenwood.

Following spring break the Lady Bulldogs returned to conference play on Tuesday, March 31st, against Russellville, but proved inhospitable hosts, knocking around Lady Cyclones’ pitching for a 10-0 victory behind Victoria Taylor’s no-hit effort. Taylor also fanned 11 of the 15 Russellville hitters she retired, walking just one.

Offensively, Greenwood scored twice in the opening frame, once in the third, five times in the fourth, and two more in the bottom of the fifth to invoke the 10-run mercy rule. Sydnie Henson, Syndey Parker, and Tatum Holland all had two hits for the home team.

Abbey Lejong had two runs batted in for Greenwood, while Mikayleigh Davis and Madison Jewell each plated a run. The Lady Bulldogs also played flawlessly in the field behind Taylor, helped out by the fact that Russellville put only four balls in play.

Last Friday and Saturday, April 3-4, the Lady Bulldogs took the short trip to Crawford County to Van Buren for the River City Rumble. Their first opponent/victim was Springdale Har-Ber, and once again Victoria Taylor threw a gem, this time against a 7A opponent, giving up just four hits and solo runs in the first and third innings. She also struck out nine batters.

Trailing 2-0, the Lady Bulldogs rallied in support of their ace, scoring single runs in each of the last three innings to notch the 3-2 victory. They managed to get seven hits in the game and took advantage of two Har-Ber errors. Greenwood had just one defensive miscue in the game.

Mikayleigh Davis and Tatum Holland led the team with two hits each. Sydnie Henson, Phoebe Ulmer, and Holland accounted for all of the Greenwood RBIs.

In game two of tournament play, Taylor was magnificent again, this time against Mena, fanning 13 hitters and giving up just one hit in a classic pitching duel. Both hurlers went the distance, and each gave up just one safety in seven innings of work.

The only run of the game was scored by the Lady Bulldogs in the top of the seventh, and Taylor made it stand up, pitching a scoreless bottom half of the frame for the 1-0 victory. Sydnie Henson had the only hit of the game for Greenwood.

Last Saturday, April 4th, the Lady Bulldogs returned to Van Buren to face Sheridan in a 10 am contest, losing 2-0 despite a stellar complete-game performance by pitcher Kaila Cartwright. She threw six innings of five-hit ball, striking out five opposing batters, but Sheridan’s pitcher was even better, holding Greenwood to just two hits while fanning four Lady Bulldogs.

Unfortunately, the GHS defense also committed three errors in the game. Scoreless after three frames, visiting Sheridan scored single runs in the fourth and fifth innings for the win, putting the Lady Bulldogs into the loser’s bracket.

Up next was Farmington and another tight pitching duel. Greenwood’s Victoria Taylor gave up her only run in the first inning, but still trailed 1-0 after four frames. The Lady Bulldogs tied the game in the bottom of the fifth inning and won it with a single run in the sixth. 2-1.

Taylor fanned 12 Farmington batters, gave only one hit, and went the distance. Abbey Lejong, Darian Wilson, and Sydnie Henson had hits for Greenwood, with Lejong and Wilson accounting for both runs batted in. Greenwood committed the only error in the contest.

Also last Saturday afternoon the GHS girls faced Mena in tournament play, losing 4-3 in six innings. The Lady Bulldogs scored in the top of the first inning and twice more in the fourth, but gave up solo runs to Mena in the second, third, fifth, and the decisive sixth inning.

Both teams had five hits and Greenwood had the only two errors in the game. Starting pitcher Victoria Taylor fanned nine Mena hitters in five frames, but gave up the winning run in the sixth inning to take the hard-luck loss. Phoebe Ulmer and Syndey Parker had two hits each for the Lady Bulldogs, and Ulmer drove home two runs for Greenwood.

This past Monday the Lady Bulldogs hosted Class 7A Fayetteville and came away as 5-1 winners, this time behind the strong pitching performance of Kaila Cartwright, who worked a complete game, striking out six hitters and scattering five hits over seven innings.

Greenwood scored once in the second and third innings, then three times in the bottom of the fifth. Trailing 5-0, Fayetteville plated its only run in the top of the sixth inning. Both teams made two errors in the field.

Catcher Abbey Lejong had two hits and two RBIs for Greenwood. Danae Lewis also had two hits for the Lady Bulldogs, and Mikayleigh added a pair of runs batted in.

This past Tuesday the GHS girls were scheduled to travel to Siloam Springs for a conference game against the Lady Panthers, doubly important because both teams are from 6A schools, which will figure in the post-season rankings and state tournament seedings.


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