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Lady Bulldogs reach quarterfinals in state softball tournament
13, Junior, Catcher/LF, Abbey Lejong, framing a pitch against Rogers.

Lady Bulldogs reach quarterfinals in state softball tournament

By Richard White

With the school year nearing a close, high school spring sports are wrapping up their seasons with state tournaments, and the Greenwood Lady Bulldogs’ softball team reached the quarterfinals of post-season play last week before falling to a great Benton team. The team is coached by Ronnie Sockey and finished with 22 wins, despite having no seniors on the roster.

Greenwood closed out its regular season with a 1-0 loss at Russellville on May 6th and a 10-6 home victory over Conway on May 9th. After getting just two hits and no runs against Russellville, the Lady Bulldogs scored five times in the first inning against Conway and banged out 17 hits in the game, winning easily despite making four fielding errors. They added a single run in the second and two runs each in the fourth and sixth innings.

#8, Sophomore, Pitcher, Victoria Taylor, preparing to throw another strike against Russellville.

#8, Sophomore, Pitcher, Victoria Taylor, preparing to throw another strike against Russellville.

Offensively, Syndey Parker led the way with four hits and three RBIs. Devyn Gregory also drove home three runs, and Sydnie Henson added three hits. Victoria Taylor got the complete game victory on the mound, striking out six Conway batters. The conference win helped Greenwood earn a three seed in the 6A state tournament.

#25, Junior, 1st Base/RF, Devyn Gregory, laying down a bunt against Conway.

#25, Junior, 1st Base/RF, Devyn Gregory, laying down a bunt against Conway.

“The girls come out ready to play that first night,” said the coach, referring to last Thursday’s opening round game with Siloam Springs. After holding the visiting Panthers scoreless in the first inning, the Greenwood girls put the game away early with eight runs in their first turn at bat.

“We were able to use all three pitchers in the first game,” said Coach Sockey, “and they combined for a one-hit shutout and nearly a no-hitter, for two sophomores and a freshman, which was great to get them all that experience in the state tournament.”

Greenwood cruised to a 12-0 victory behind the strong pitching of Victoria Taylor, Kelsey Knox, and Madi Pfeifer, and the hot bats of several girls, including Madison Jewell and Mikayleigh Davis with three hits each, while Sydnie Henson added two hits. Jewell and Pfeifer also drove home three runs apiece. “We had some great hitting all through the lineup, combining for 13 hits in four innings,” said Sockey. The game was called after 4 ½ innings because of the mercy rule.

But the shoe was on the other foot for the Lady Bulldogs against Benton, which hosted the tournament. “We knew it was going to be tough playing them on their home field,” said the coach. “The girls really wanted this win to give us one more shot at Russellville and a chance to go to the state finals,” he added. But it wasn’t meant to be as Greenwood fell to Benton by a score of 10-1.

“We got the lead in the top of the second inning,” explained Sockey, “but turned around and Benton had a big two-out rally for seven runs in the bottom of the [inning]. Our bats just could not get going after that to get us back in the game. Victoria Taylor settled in on the mound and put some zeros on the board to give our offense a chance to [come] back, but we just couldn’t [score].”

Benton led 7-1 until the bottom of the sixth inning when the home team added a three-spot to salt the game away. The Lady Bulldogs were shutout over their final five at bats and mustered only four hits in the game while committing three errors in the field.

 Despite the lopsided loss, Coach Sockey was very upbeat about the season and his team’s outlook for the future. “We finished the year with a 22 wins and 11 losses, and every game we lost was very close. With no seniors on the team and our sophomore and freshmen pitchers coming back, next year we should be competing again with the top teams in 6A for a state championship. The girls are learning how to win the big games and are getting that confidence that they can win against the top teams in 7A and 6A.”

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