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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Lady Horns pick on bigger opponents

Thursday, April 8, 2004

Sports Editor

After fighting their way through a field top-loaded with schools four times as big as they are, the Viola Lady Longhorns finished the Mark Martin Ford-Lady Pioneer Invitational Softball Tournament in fourth place April 3 at Bateville's Recreation Complex.

Although out-sized, the Lady Horns weren't intimidated in a tournament with the likes of Class AAAAA Searcy, Beebee from Class AAAA and the Class AAAA Paragould Lady Rams.

Viola knocked off Southside in opening round play, before turning back Class AAAA Vilonia 5-1 in quarterfinal action.

Matched up with the Nettleton Lady Raiders in semi-final play, the Lady Horns were defeated 3-0, setting up a third-place game with the host Batesville Lady Pioneers.

It was all Batesville in the contest for third, as Lady Pioneer hurler Lindsey Stallings faced just one hitter over the minimum, helping Batesville to a 4-0 shutout of the Lady Longhorns in five innings.

Batesville posted two runs in the first, but the Lady Pioneers' biggest hit might have come in their last out of the frame.

A hard shot back to the mound slammed off Lady Horn starter Lindsey Barker's knee- cap and ricocheted to first base.

Barker was forced to watch the rest of the game from the bench with an ice pack on her knee.

Viola did get something going at the plate in the top of the third as Cortney Winter led off with a base hit, the Lady Longhorns' second hit of the game.

This threat was wiped out quickly, as a 3-4 double play and groundout ended the inning.

Batesville picked up a run in the third and one in the fourth, while retiring the Lady Horns in order the last two innings, to earn third place in their tourney.

The Lady Horns' were nipped in semi-final by Nettleton, with a controversial call at the center of the loss.

After the two squads battled through six scoreless innings, the Lady Raiders crossed the plate three times in the top of the seventh for the win.

With two outs and a couple of Lady Raiders on base, a fielder's choice at first base should have gotten Viola out of the frame unharmed.

But the first-base umpire ruled that the ball was being juggled by the Lady Longhorns at first, making the runner safe and allowing the first run of the game to cross the plate.

Nettleton scored two more runs and held the Lady Horns scoreless in the bottom of the inning to take a 3-0 win.

In quarterfinal play, the Lady Horns struck quickly against Vilonia on their way to a 5-1 win.

Barker, Jamie Dailey and Meghan Bruns all logged RBI singles in the first inning to stake Viola to a 3-0 advantage.

Barker and Dailey pulled the same trick in the bottom of the second to boost Viola's lead to 5-0.

The Lady Eagles picked up a run in the top of the third, but that was as close as Vilonia would get.

Barker picked up the win for Viola, allowing just four Lady Eagle hits.

After going 21-0 in regular-season play last year and opening this season with a 10-0 mark, the Lady Longhorns suffered their first regular-season setback in quite some time, falling to Jonesboro Westside 3-2 in the finals of the Lady Warrior Invitational April 1.

The Lady Longhorns' only loss last year came in the semi-final round of the Class A Tournament to eventual state runner-up Guy-Perkins.

The Lady Warrior Tourney finals were originally scheduled for March 20, but rain forced the two teams to use their regularly-scheduled meeting April 1 to decide the tournament champions.

Deadlocked at 2-all in the seventh inning, the Class AAA Lady Warriors used a bunt to bring the game-winning run across the plate.

Viola scored one run in the top of the second and added another in the fourth to lead 2-0 heading into the seventh, before Westside rallied for three runs in the home-half of the frame to claim the tourney title.

Lindsey Barker and Chelsea Taylor teamed up to toss a perfect game March 31 as the Lady Horns blanked the Norfork Lady Panthers 11-zip.

Barker worked two innings and fanned six Lady Panthers, while Taylor went the last three innings and struck out five.

By contrast, Viola racked up 10 hits on the afternoon, including a triple by Guffey.

Dailey and Bruns each had two hits and three RBIs for the Lady Longhorns, while Guffey also logged an RBI.

Viola struck for four runs in the first, three in the second and four more in the fourth as they cruised to their 10th win on the season.

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