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Friday, May 6, 2016

Viola second at Lady Rebel Rumble

Thursday, March 29, 2007

What do you get after spending 15 hours in the hot, un-Spring-like 80-degree heat of a March Saturday on the softball diamond?

Other than a huge collection of empty water bottles, half-empty containers of sun tan lotion and an assortment of bumps and bruises, that is?

If you're the Highland Lady Rebels, what you get is a championship in the second annual Lady Rebel Rumble after a perfect run through the tournament brackets.

If you're the Viola Lady Longhorns, what you get is the second-place trophy after coming oh-so-close to a first-place finish.

Highland slipped past Viola 5-4 in extra innings in the finals of the tournament March 24 at Ash Flat Ball Park, as the Lady Rebs successfully defended their tourney title from last year's event.

The Lady Rebs topped Izard County Consolidated, Salem and then Viola, while the Lady Horns' path to the championship game started with a loss to Heber Springs before Viola regrouped to knock off ICC and Salem.

Highland and Viola battled tooth-and-nail through five innings of regulation action, with the game deadlocked at 2-all after the fifth, forcing an extra frame of play.

With tie-breaker rules in effect, the Lady Horns led off the top of the sixth with Chasidy Hutson (hit) at second base. She immediately stole third and then came home on a hit to short center from Dedra Johnston (hit, RBI).

Micah Thompson then moved Johnston to second on a sacrifice bunt and a fielder's choice by Heather Hodges pushed Johnston to third base.

Taking advantage of a wild pitch, Johnston then swiped home to give the Lady Horns a 4-2 lead.

Turns out this was not the last steal of home in the extra frame.

Needing two runs to tie, the Lady Rebels went to work in the bottom of the sixth with Courtney Sharp starting at second base.

Stephanie Shaw (hit, RBI) got Sharp to third with a fielder's choice and Kristen Ellis (two hits, RBI) did the rest with a single up the middle of the box that plated Sharp.

Jessica Sellers reached first on an error and was replaced by pinchrunner Megan Scribner.

With Lady Rebels at second and third, Samantha McNulty (hit, RBI) hit a hot shot to short that brought Ellis in to knot the game at 4-all with two outs.

Natalie Culver then reached base on a free pass, juicing the sacks for Highland.

As it turns out, Scribner was the big heroine of this game.

Taking advantage of a pitch in the dirt that made it to the backstop, Scribner scrambled home from third base in a cloud of dust, scoring the winning run in Highland's tight 5-4 win over Viola.

Karisa Hendrix earned the win for the Lady Rebels, going the distance with 10 strikeouts. She gave up just three hits and two walks for the game.

Highland got on the board in the bottom of the first thanks to a steal of home from Shaw.

Viola repaid the favor in the top of the third, locking the contest at 1-all due to a swipe of home from Katie Bruns.

The Lady Rebels broke the tie in the home half of the third on an RBI-single from Shaw that plated Alison Price (two hits).

The Lady Longhorns clawed back to tie the championship game at 2-all in the top of the fifth, as Leslie Barker (hit, RBI) dropped a hit into shallow right field, bringing home Elizabeth Collins.

The Lady Rebels couldn't scratch out a run in the bottom of the fifth, sending the game into extra innings where Scribner came up huge for Highland.

Kathryn Bobo and Hendrix hit safely for Highland in the game.

In order to get to a meeting with Highland, Viola first had to knock off their Fulton County neighbors from Salem.

In what turned out to be the first of two thrilling games to end the tourney, the Lady Horns did just that, topping the Lady Hounds 6-5 in a tough battle.

Squared at 4-all after six, Viola started the seventh inning off with Hodges at second base.

Elizabeth Collins moved her over to third on a sacrifice bunt before Bruns stepped into the box and reached first on a bunt single.

Barker delivered the big blow in the seventh with a hard shot to second that was misplayed, scoring a pair of runs on the play to move Viola on top 6-4.

Big trouble was brewing for the Lady Horns in the bottom of the seventh.

With a runner starting the home half of the inning on second, Lairen Hall and Leslie Taylor both got on base via a pair of errors, loading the bases with no outs.

After a popout, Tera Zeigler brought one run in on a fielder's choice, edging Salem within one run of knotting the game.

And that's how it ended -- with Salem down by a run. Viola closed the game with a flyout, giving the Lady Longhorns a 6-5 win over the Lady Greyhounds.

Down by one run after the first inning, Viola exploded for four runs in the second to grab the lead.

A Barker base hit to short left did the major damage in the frame, moving the Lady Longhorns in front 4-1 after two.

Salem edged closer by plating two runs in the bottom of the third.

Zeigler ripped a hit to right that scored Hall, and then Zeigler came in thanks to a sacrifice fly by Terra Kinder, drawing Salem within one run, 4-3 after three.

Zeigler came up big again in the bottom of the fifth with a hard infield shot that scored Hall to lock the game at 4-all.

Salem opened the day by besting Heber Springs before falling to Highland and Viola.

The Lady Longhorns rallied late, but still came up a couple of runs short of the Heber Spring Lady Panthers in opening action.

Heber Springs held a slim 3-2 lead after three innings of play, but the Lady Panthers crossed the plate three times in the bottom of the fourth to move on top 6-2.

Johnston started the top of the fifth by drawing a base on balls, setting the stage for Micah Thompson.

Thompson came up big-time by swatting a ball that rolled into deep right field. Johnston scored on the hit and Thompson didn't stop running until she too, had crossed the dish to pull Viola within two runs, 6-4.

The Lady Panthers then regrouped and closed the game by getting the Lady Horns to hit into three straight groundouts, leaving Heber Springs with a 6-4 victory over Viola.

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