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Lady Bulldogs’ Softball Off to Solid Start

Lady Bulldogs’ Softball Off to Solid Start

By Richard White

The Greenwood High School Lady Bulldogs softball team is off and running, posting a 4-1 mark in early play, winning both of their conference games thus far under head coach Ronnie Sockey, now in his second season at the helm. The GHS girls defeated Little Rock Parkview twice in league play, taking both ends of a doubleheader by lopsided margins. “We’ve been playing well so far,” said the coach, who is assisted this season by Jason Gill.

Sizing up his team’s prospects for this spring and beyond, Sockey said, “We return both pitchers from last year, Victoria Taylor and Kelsy Knox, and we added a third really good pitcher with freshman Madi Pfeifer.  Most teams only have one but we have three very good girls that we can put in the circle. Having three girls really helps keep our pitching staff from wearing down through the season, and [they] should be fresh come state tournament time.”

Things are a little more unsettled on the infield, though. “We graduated all five of our infield positions around our pitcher, [so] it may take us a few weeks to get our infield figured out. But we have a lot of girls that are able to play two or three different positions. With no seniors on the team this year, the next few years for Greenwood softball are really looking good,” said the coach.

Sockey added, “Strengths for this year should be our pitching and hitting. One through nine in the line-up has been swinging the bats [well] so far. We will get our leadoff hitter and best base runner back from basketball in Sydnie Henson, so that will complete our lineup,” said the coach.

“Our weaknesses will most likely be our inexperience at the high school level,” he added. “The speed of the game and running the bases at this level is a lot different than the summer leagues these girls are used to playing.  We have a great group of freshman and sophomores this year. We just need to get them playing time to get them where they need to be at the end of the season.”

Besides Sydnie Henson, Coach Sockey is also looking forward to having several other girls join the squad from the state championship basketball team. “We have five girls that will join the team after their great season. Two or three will play big roles on the softball field also. It’s always great to have these players join the team after winning a state [title], and have that carry over to the softball team.”

According to the coach, his Lady Bulldogs have a big week coming up. They were slated to play Fort Smith Southside this past Tuesday, Mount St. Marys on Thursday, and then a tournament next weekend in Northwest Arkansas.

Early results include a 5-2 loss to Van Buren in the season opener, despite a nice pitching performance by Victoria Taylor, who hurled six solid innings, striking out nine hitters. The game was tied at 2-2 when Taylor was replaced by Kelsy Knox, but Van Buren pushed across three runs in the top of the ninth for the victory.

Mikayleigh Davis had three hits for Greenwood and Devyn Gregory had two. Pheobe Ulmer had a pair of runs batted in for the Lady Bulldogs as well. Greenwood out hit the Lady Pointers 10 to eight, but was also charged with the only two fielding errors in the game.

Next came a 4-0 shutout win over Booneville behind the strong pitching efforts of starter Kelsy Knox, who went five innings, and two solid frames of relief work by Victoria Taylor. Greenwood out hit the Lady Bearcats eight to four and did not commit an error in the contest.

Abbey Lejong and Hunter Marquez both had a pair of hits in the game, with Devyn Gregory, Mikayleigh Davis, and Pheobe Ulmer all picking up solo RBIs.

The GHS girls then hosted Waldron and came away as 6-2 winners, with the aid of five fielding errors by the visitors. Taylor started the game and got credit for the victory, pitching five strong innings. Know relieved in the sixth and closed out the contest, giving up a single run in the seventh.

Greenwood scored solo runs in the first and second frames, another in the fourth, and three more in the fifth to cement the victory. The Lady Bulldogs finished with eight hits, including two each for Mikayleigh Davis and Sydney Parker, who also drove home two runs. Likewise, Madison Jewell added a pair of RBIs and Abbey Lejong had one.

On the road at Little Rock Parkview last Friday, the Lady Bulldogs scored 14 times in the top of the first inning, on their way to a lopsided 20-1 victory. They scored 20 runs on just 10 hits, aided by some very sloppy defense by the Lady Patriots, charged with six errors in the game.

Due to the nature of the score, the game was shorted to just three innings, with starter Kelsy Knox going two frames for the win and Victoria Taylor pitching one inning in relief. Knox also had two hits in the game and drove home three runs. Pheobe Ulmer had four RBIs and Madison Jewell added two more. Tessa Shea also had two hits for the Lady Bulldogs.

The second game was almost a repeat of the first, with Greenwood scoring three times in the first inning, twice more in the second, and exploding for 10 runs in the third and final inning. Parkview was hitless in the contest and committed three errors. The Lady Bulldogs had 14 hits and just one error.

Madi Pfeifer pitched all three innings for Greenwood for the win and the abbreviated no-hitter. She was backed up offensively by Davis, Knox, and Ulmer, all of whom had two hits each. Knox drove home three runs, while Davis and Ulmer drove home two each.

 

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