In a rematch of last year's Class 1A state softball semi-finals, the Izard County turned the tables on Melbourne, as the Lady Cougars knocked off the Lady Bearkatz 5-0 March 24 in Brockwell.
Melbourne had earned a trip to the Class 1A finals last season with a hard-fought victory over their county neighbors.
"This was our first conference game of the year and the girls did great," Izard County Coach Matt Orf said. "I didn't know how we would respond to Melbourne after getting beat by them in the semifinals of the state tournament last year. We responded the way I hoped we would and hit the ball well."
Sarah Taylor earned the win for the Lady Cougars, pitching a shutout while giving up just four hits and two walks with seven Ks.
"Sarah threw a four-hitter and we did a great job of backing her up defensively," Orf said. "We had no errors on the day."
At the plate, Taylor tripled for the Lady Cougars, with Jenna Irgens adding a pair of hits, including a double.
Izard County was up 1-0 after four-and-a-half innings, then finished things off with four runs in the fifth.
The Lady Cougars came in second the Rumble N Raiderville Softball Tournament held March 14-20 at Nettleton.
Izard County won five games and lost two in the tournament, defeating Class 3A Hoxie 8-0, Class 4A Rivercrest 4-1, Class 3A Manila 2-0, Class 3A Trumann 6-1, and Class 3A Corning 3-2. The Lady Cougars lost twice to the tournament champions, Class 4A Jonesboro Westside, 11-7 and 5-2.
Taylor compiled a 5-2 record in the tournament pitching a combined 34 innings and striking out 38 batters. Highlights for the Lady Cougars included Traci Grinnell going 3-3 with an RBI against Hoxie; Lane Norvold, 3-3, 1 RBI against Rivercrest; Grinnell and Norvold 2 RBI each against Trumann; Kailey Moss, 2-2, 1 RBI in the first game against Jonesboro Westside; and Norvold, 2-2, 1 RBI against Jonesboro Westside in the championship game.
Regular season wins for the Lady Cougars included Twin Rivers (26-0 and 15-0) and Shirley (4-0).