Lady Bulldogs close out conference schedule with long winning streak; state tournament looming

Lady Bulldogs close out conference schedule with long winning streak; state tournament looming

April was an eventful month for the Greenwood Lady Bulldogs and Head Coach Ronnie Sockey. They began on April Fool’s Day with a home victory over Fort Smith Southside in non-conference play, improving their season record to 5-4. They then lost three straight games to fall below the .500 mark at 5-7. But since that time, they’ve won 13 consecutive games, including ten straight in league play. The GHS girls are now 18-7 overall and finished conference play at 11-3.

That was good enough to tie Van Buren, which also finished 11-3, but the Lady Pointers owned the tiebreaker by virtue of their doubleheader sweep over Greenwood early in the season, making them the top seed from the 5A West heading into the playoffs at Hot Springs. The Lady Bulldogs will be the #2 seed from the West, followed by #3 Vilonia and #4 Mountain Home. The Benton Lady Panthers, the defending state champions, returned most of their key players this season and are the favorites to retain their crown.

Coach Sockey and his girls have one game remaining in the regular season, next Monday at Bentonville-West, a final tune-up before the playoffs begin next Thursday. After that, the Lady Bulldogs will take their best shot at returning to the state finals, presumably against the Lady Panthers at Benton, which will host the state championship game this spring. The two schools are on opposite sides of the bracket and could only meet in the finals, as they did last year.

And one other thing, whenever the Lady Bulldogs end their season, either next week in the state tournament or a week later in the finals, it will be their last game under Coach Sockey, who has spent the last 10 years at Greenwood after moving from Oklahoma. Recently the highly successful coach resigned his position, effective at the end of the school year.

Sockey has earned nearly 200 victories in his time with the Lady Bulldogs, even without playing in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. His daughter, Ally, is a freshman with the SEC co-champion University of Arkansas Lady Razorbacks, and his son, Aiden, is a sophomore on the Bulldogs’ baseball team. Ally is currently injured and will have shoulder surgery after the season, said her father, but she started more than a dozen games at shortstop earlier this year.

The elder Sockey is returning to Oklahoma, Poteau to be precise, but not to coach softball, except maybe as an assistant. Instead, he is returning to boys basketball as the new head varsity coach for the Pirates. He previously served as a head coach on the ninth grade level and as a varsity assistant in boys basketball. The coach’s wife also works in Poteau and has been commuting from Greenwood all these years. We wish them all the best of luck.

Greenbrier Lady Panthers

The GHS girls wrapped up their 2022 conference schedule this past Tuesday with a pair of road wins at Greenbrier, 12-9 and 13-1. Starting pitcher Haley McAdams went the distance in the opener for Greenwood and Tori Howard did the same in game two. Both hurlers got plenty of run support from the GHS offense that banged out 23 hits and scored 25 runs in the doubleheader. But in game one the GHS defense was sloppy, committing five errors, allowing four unearned runs.

After retiring Greenwood in the top of the first inning, the Lady Panthers scored twice in the bottom half on a pair of hits. But the Lady Bulldogs countered with four runs in the top of the second on three hits, a walk, and a Greenbrier error. They added three more runs in the third on three more hits and a walk. A Greenbrier run in the bottom of the frame left the visitors on top, 7-3, heading into what turned out to be a very long fourth inning in which both teams scored four times.

The first five GHS hitters reached base, four on hits and the other on a walk, and four of them scored. Likewise, the first four Greenbrier batters reached, two on hits and two on GHS errors, and all four crossed the plate, making the score 11-7. The Lady Bulldogs added a solo run in the fifth and the home team plated their last two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Neither team scored in the seventh. Greenwood finished the game with 13 hits and five defensive errors.

Haley McAdams went all seven innings for the Lady Bulldogs, doing so on 102 pitches, 63 of those for strikes. She surrendered nine hits and nine runs, but only five of those runs were earned. Along the way she fanned three Greenbrier hitters and walked just one. She threw 19 first pitch strikes and held the Lady Panthers to a .273 average with nine ground ball outs and eight fly outs.

On the offensive side, four Lady Bulldogs had multiple hits in the game, led by Brianna Taylor’s three knocks, including a double and three runs batted in. Ireland Cooper, Macey Cutsinger, and Paige Pugh all had two hits each. Cutsinger had a double and RBI while Cooper also had an RBI and scored twice. Natilee Horne drove home two runs and four others had one RBI each. They were Taylor Nichols, Mady Cartwright, Charlize Taylor, and Tori Howard.

In game two it was all Howard, who started in the circle for Greenwood and pitched five immaculate innings. She allowed just four hits and one run, throwing 71 pitches, 45 for strikes. She also pitched to contact, striking out none and walking two, but her defense played well behind her, making just one error. Greenwood also scored in all five innings to support her work on the mound in the 13-1 victory.

The Lady Bulldogs scored twice in the first inning, once in the second, twice more in the third, three times in the fourth, and five times in the fifth, plating 13 runs and bringing the contest to a premature halt, invoking the 10-run mercy rule. They stroked 10 hits and took advantage of seven Greenbrier walks and an error for two unearned runs.

Two GHS girls, Macey Cutsinger and Brianna Taylor, had two hits each, with the latter picking up an RBI while Cutsinger scored three runs. Charlize Taylor ripped a homerun, drove home two, and scored two runs. Taylor Nichols and Mady Cartwright both had doubles and three RBIs each. Paige Pugh and Tori Howard also had a hit and RBI each.

Northside Lady Grizzlies

Last Thursday, April 28th, the Lady Bears of Fort Smith Northside came calling and made the Lady Bulldogs work hard for a 3-2 victory behind the stellar pitching of starter Haley McAdams, who allowed just three hits in the game, completing all seven innings. She walked one Northside hitter and struck out just one, relying on her teammates in the field. The GHS defense did make three errors, but none figured in the two Northside runs, which came in the third inning.

Those two tallies tied the score at 2-2 after Greenwood had taken an early lead with two runs in the bottom of the second. A single by Brianna Taylor was followed by an RBI triple off the bat of Tori Howard, who then scored on a hit by Taylor Nichols. Greenwood added its final and winning run in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Paige Pugh after consecutive hits by Howard and Nichols. McAdams retired Northside in order in the fourth and fifth innings, and allowed just one runner to reach base in the sixth and seventh frames.

Nichols and Howard were the only two Greenwood players with two hits and both had an RBI. Macey Cutsinger and Brianna Taylor had the only other hits for the Lady Bulldogs in a very well-pitched and well-played game by both sides.

Alma Lady Airedales

Last Tuesday, April 26th, Greenwood hosted longtime rival Alma in a conference doubleheader, with both teams still very much alive in the playoff hunt. Greenwood still had eyes on winning the league title while the Alma girls hoped to steal a win on the road to improve their post-season chances. But the Lady Bulldogs won both games, 5-4 and 7-0.

Haley McAdams started the game for the Lady Bulldogs in the circle, shutting out the opposition until the top of the sixth inning when a Greenwood error and a passed ball contributed to a four-run frame for the Lady Airedales. The late rally began with two outs and no one on and included four of Alma’s total of six hits. All four runs were unearned.

McAdams gave up a two-out double and a walk in the seventh, but retired the last batter for the win on a short popup she handled herself. Besides the six hits and two walks, the GHS hurler struck out seven Alma batters, needing just over 100 pitches to get through the game. She threw 20 first pitch strikes and held the visitors to a .214 batting average.

At the plate, the Lady Bulldogs scored twice in the bottom of the first, then added one run each in the third, fourth, and fifth innings for a 5-0 led heading into the top of the sixth. Alma’s error-aided rally cut the GHS lead to just one run, but it held up as the Lady Bulldogs defended their home turf and notched the conference win.

Three Greenwood players had two hits in the game – Taylor Nichols, Mady Cartwright, and Charlize Taylor – all stacked together in the heart of the GHS lineup. Cartwright and Taylor had homeruns, and Taylor’s came with a runner on in the first inning. She also led the team with three RBIs. Tori Howard and Brianna Taylor also had solo hits in the game.

Tori Howard got the call to pitch game two and turned in a three-hit shutout in the 7-0 win to complete the doubleheader sweep. The GHS hurler got all the run support she needed in the first inning when her teammates plated five runs on four hits and a walk. Howard had the fourth hit of the frame and later scored as the first five GHS hitters reached base. The Lady Bulldogs scored their final two runs in the fourth inning on four consecutive hits, including a pair of doubles.

Howard needed just 72 pitches to get through seven frames of work, averaging right at 10 pitches per inning. She fanned seven Alma hitters, walked none, and threw a total of 58 strikes while holding the visitors to a measly .125 average. Her teammates also played perfect defense behind her.

With the bats, the Lady Bulldogs had nine hits, including a pair of doubles by Mady Cartwright and Charlize Taylor, with the latter driving in two runs. Cartwright had two knocks in the contest as did Macey Cutsinger and Brianna Taylor, who also had two RBIs. Paige Pugh and Tori Howard also had singles and solo RBIs. Taylor Nichols also had an RBI. Cutsinger and Cartwright scored two runs apiece.

Fayetteville Lady Purple Dogs

Prior to taking on Alma, the Lady Bulldogs hosted Class 6A Fayetteville in a non-conference game on Friday, April 22nd. After her teammates scored a solo run in the first inning, Greenwood starting pitcher Haley McAdams made it stand up until the fifth when the visitors got their only two hits of the game after a hit batsman, tying the score at 1-1.

In the bottom of the sixth the GHS girls plated their last two runs in the 3-1 victory. A leadoff double by Tori Howard started the winning rally. One out later, Taylor Nichols drove Howard home, then later scored on a sacrifice fly by Macey Cutsinger. Howard then took over for McAdams in the circle and closed out the win with two perfect frames, striking out three of the six hitters she faced for the save. The two GHS hurlers issued no walks in the game and fanned 10 hitters between them.

Offensively, Greenwood had two extra-base hits, a double by Howard and a solo homerun by Charlize Taylor that put the home team up 1-0 in the first inning. Ireland Cooper, Macey Cutsinger, Haley McAdams, and Brianna Taylor all had solo hits, while Taylor Nichols had two hits. Besides Taylor’s home run, Cutsinger and McAdams had solo RBIs in the game.

Mountain Home Lady Bombers

On April 19th the Lady Bulldogs made the long trip to Baxter County to take on the Lady Bombers of Mountain Home and returned home with two more conference wins. Howard and McAdams continued their fine pitching, giving up just two runs across 14 innings of work. Greenwood won the first game, 6-0, and took the second, 2-1.

Howard allowed just two Mountain Home hits, walking just one batter while throwing 92 pitches, 64 of them for strikes. She threw 18 first pitch strikes, working ahead in the count throughout the contest, holding the Lady Bombers to a team average of .083. Howard also led her teammates in hits with three, including a pair of doubles and an RBI.

The visitors tallied nine hits in the game, eight of those singles. Piper Pitts and Brianna Taylor had two hits each with Mady Cartwright and Lilly Williams picking up the other two hits. Taylor also drove home a pair of runs. The GHS girls were aided by four walks and two Mountain Home errors that led to a pair of unearned runs. Greenwood scored twice in the first inning, three times in the fifth, and once more in the sixth for the 6-0 victory.

Game two featured Haley McAdams in the circle locked in a pitching duel with Mountain Home’s Emma Crabb, who held the visitors scoreless through five frames. McAdams allowed her only run in the second inning on an RBI hit by Crabb, but recovered to finish the game and earn the 2-1 victory. Crabb also completed the contest and took the loss despite giving up just four hits. However, she did issue six walks, including two in the decisive sixth inning when Greenwood scored both its runs, only one of which was earned due to an error.

No GHS player had multiple hits, with Ireland Cooper, Macey Cutsinger, Paige Pugh, and Brianna Taylor all with singles. Taylor’s knock brought home the winning runs in the sixth inning, plating Charlize Taylor and Tori Howard who had reached on a walk and error. After giving up the run in the second inning, McAdams then retired the last 15 hitters she faced, giving her team a chance to come back for the 2-1 victory.

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Lady Bulldogs Softball 2013-2022
Coach Sockey's Going Away Party
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Bulldogs to hold spring football game Thursday
Ronnie Sockey era ends at Greenwood High as Lady Bulldogs bow out of state softball tournament
5a State Tournament Game 2 Greenwood vs Greene County Tech