One red-hot laser shot deserves another.
And that's just what the Highland Lady Rebels got in the Class 4A State Tournament's Final Four May 12 in Nashville.
Back-to-back red-hot laser shots.
Kristen Ellis threw one to give them a chance, and then Katheryn Bobo hit one to cash in on that chance.
Two red-hot laser shots; the two biggest in Lady Rebel softball history. A pair of precision beams that gave Highland a thrilling 2-1, extra-inning victory over Heber Springs, sending the Lady Rebs to the Class 4A title game for the first time ever in fast pitch softball.
Just as they were the other four times this year when Highland and Heber Springs hooked up on the diamond, the state tournament semi-final was a close affair, one with the outcome up for grabs.
Tied at 1-all after seven innings, the Lady Panthers led off the top of the eighth with Katie Dixon starting on second base per tie-breaker rules. Dixon moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Ashley Barbie before the Lady Rebs got one heck of a double-play.
Kasey Sumpter hit a fly to deep center, and as Ellis positioned herself to catch the ball, Dixon motored from third to home.
Only problem was, Ellis caught the ball in center and sent a rocket to Lady Rebel catcher Jessica Sellers. Sellers snagged the throw and tagged out a sliding Dixon to end the inning, giving Highland a chance to win it in the home half of the eighth.
And it didn't take the Lady Rebels long to cash that chance in.
With Karisa Hendrix starting at second, and Lady Panther reliever Hannah Hargus on the hill, Bobo stepped in the box and smashed a hot-shot down the line in left that brought Hendrix around to scoring the winning run.
Heber Springs got on board with a run in the top of the first inning, but the damage could have been worse. With runners on second and third, Lady Rebel ace Hendrix racked up three straight strikeouts to get out of the first in pretty good shape.
Hendrix, who came on in relief of Stephanie Shaw, gave up just three hits while striking out 12 and walking none in the game.
The Lady Rebels, after posting three scoreless innings against Heber Springs, dented the scoreboard in the home half of the fourth.
Natalie Culver led off by working the count full and then sending a ball to centerfield for Highland's second hit of the game off Lady Panther starter Chelsey Vasser.
Culver then stole second and was safe after Heber Springs' shortstop Tamara Moore couldn't hold onto the ball as Culver slid into the bag. Then Sellers came up huge with a hit past first that plated Culver, deadlocking the game at 1-all. The Lady Rebs did get the go-ahead run, pinchrunner Courtney Sharp, to third on a sacrifice bunt from Whitney Crook and fielding error with Shaw at bat, but the inning ended with a groundout.
But with a trip to Fayetteville riding on the way they played in the eighth, the Lady Rebels responded with a pair of gems from Ellis and Bobo, and Highland edged out a one-run victory over the Lady Panthers.
Shaw and Allison Price each hit safely for Highland against Heber Springs.