On top of her stuff all game long, Highland's fireballing ace Karisa Hendrix was just too much for the DeWitt Dragonettes to contend with, and the Lady Rebels advanced to the semi-final round of the tourney with a 4-0 shutout.
At press time, Highland was scheduled to hook up with Heber Springs for a fifth time on the year, this time with a trip to Fayetteville and a spot in the Class 4A championship game on the line. Highland took three out of four games from the Lady Panthers, including a victory in the regional finals a week earlier.
Hendrix threw a no-hitter against DeWitt, striking out 14 while walking just two and hitting one batter in seven sparkling innings of work.
DeWitt starting pitcher Haley Horton had a decent afternoon on the mound for her team, allowing just two hits while fanning one and walking two, but the Dragonettes' defense betrayed Horton with four costly errors in the game.
And DeWitt's (18-6) miscues would surface right from the outset against Highland (26-8).
Kathryn Bobo led off the bottom of the first for Highland by reaching first on a single and then motoring to second on a throwing error on the play. Bobo wasn't on base long as Natalie Culver laid down a sacrifice bunt that allowed Bobo to cross home, giving the Lady Rebels a 1-0 lead.
DeWitt was not so fortunate in the top of the first. The Dragonettes' leadoff batter reached first after being hit by a pitch, but Hendrix soon settled down and struck out three straight DeWitt batters to get out of the inning unharmed.
Highland's next tally came in the home half of the second, and it too, was aided by DeWitt's fielding woes.
Stephanie Shaw hit a shot to shortstop and after the ball was bobbled, made it to first safely. Alison Price was willing to give herself up with a sacrifice bunt, but instead she made it all the way to second on a throwing error, with Shaw reaching third on the play. Next up, Samantha McNulty hit a grounder back to the mound, but Shaw was moving on the play and slid under the tag at home for the Lady Rebs' second run of the game.
With Hendrix in total control of things, Highland put the game away with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second.
Culver led off the inning with a base-on-balls and then made it over to third on a botched fielder's choice off the bat of Kristen Ellis. Jessica Sellers then plated Culver on a groundout before Shaw wrapped up the scoring with a double that scored pinchrunner Courtney Sharp, paving the way for Highland's trip to the Class 4A Final Four.