Lady Bulldogs claim state tournament berth
By Richard White
The Greenwood Lady Bulldogs took their first big step toward a possible state championship last Monday by earning a berth in the 6A state tournament. They did so by virtue of their 10-0 win over the Lady Panthers of Siloam Springs. The victory improved their overall season mark to 22-5.
Head Coach Ronnie Sockey threw his top hurler against the Lady Panthers. Junior Kaila Cartwright was stellar in her four innings of work, allowing just one hit, striking out seven opposing hitters, and walking none.
With the outcome of the game assured, Cartwright was relieved in the fifth by senior Madison Lawler, who threw a perfect frame with one strikeout to complete the shutout.
The game was close through three innings, with Greenwood leading 3-0. But a seven-run outburst in the bottom of the fourth put the game away for the Lady Bulldogs, invoking the 10-run-rule and shortening the game to 4½ innings.
The GHS girls scored twice in the bottom of the first, with leadoff hitter Paxtyn Hayes doubling and then circling the bases on an outfield error. Miriah Hamilton later singled and scored on a hit by Ericka Calderon for a 2-0 GHS advantage.
Hayes also scored in the third, reaching on an error, advancing to third on a passed ball and a wild pitch, then scoring on a sacrifice fly by Sydney Parker.
With one out in the fourth, Sidney Bieker singled and stole second base to start the big rally. She soon scored as the defense committed several errors and Greenwood collected five additional hits.
Paxtyn Hayes and Ericka Calderon both had RBI doubles, while Lawler, Hamilton, and Karter Langston all had singles. Calderon had three hits in the game and two RBIs. Hayes had two hits, both doubles, and scored three times.
Up next for the Lady Bulldogs is Lake Hamilton, but a rainy weather forecast forced a postponement of Wednesday’s scheduled second-round game at Greenwood.
The two teams will now play on Thursday at 5 p.m., with the winner advancing to Saturday’s championship contest, with the highest seeded team serving as host.
The six survivors of the 6A West conference tournament will join six teams from the 6A East to compete for the state championship at Benton High School May 11-13. The title game will be played at Bogle Park on the campus of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.