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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Viola has right answer for Taylor

Thursday, May 7, 2009

WHACK: Leslie Barker connects on an RBI-hit in the first round of the state tournament May 1 in Pine Bluff. Photo/Mullins
The Taylor Lady Tigers are one tough bunch.

The past several years, the Lady Tigers have managed to take care of business and play deep into the state softball tournament.

But not this year.

The Viola Lady Longhorns hit Taylor with such a big come-from-behind rally that the Lady Tigers are probably still wondering what hit them.

What hit them was a six-run sixth inning off the bats of the Lady Horns, as Viola knocked off Taylor 6-2 in the opening round of the 1A State Softball Tournament May 1 at Pine Bluff Regional Park.

With the wind blowing straight out of the park, Viola sent several balls deep into the outfield during the first five innings, but they were all played perfectly by Taylor's outfielders, keeping the Lady Longhorns scoreless through the first five frames.

The Lady Tigers, however, picked up their first run of the day in the first inning off three straight hits.

Taylor made it 2-0 with an additional run in the top of the third.

But then came the bottom of the sixth.

Chasidy Hutson led off the inning with a single.

Heather Simmons followed with a double to left.

After Taylor got a pop-out for the first out of the sixth, Leslie Barker creamed a pitch into right field that brought Hutson around to score.

Taylor Griggs stepped into the batter's box and drilled a ground-rule double to left-center that drove in Simmons and Barker, giving Viola a 3-2 lead.

But the Lady Longhorns were just getting started.

Lindsey Walker hit a chopper to third and Griggs motored home on the play to give Viola a 4-2 lead.

Elisabeth Collins hit safely with a ball to short right and then Alex Duncan reached first on an error to juice the sacks for Viola.

Walker and Collins then scored to give Viola a 6-2 lead over a stunned group of Taylor Lady Tigers.

Dedra Johnston made sure Taylor had no plans at a similar rally in the top of the seventh and retired the Lady Tigers with two fly-outs and a fielder's choice to preserve the Lady Longhorns' 6-2 victory.

Johnston earned the win in the circle, going the distance and giving up seven hits.

With Simmons on third and Johnston on first base in the first inning of Viola's quarterfinal matchup with Scranton May 2, rain and lightning postponed the game.

The game was to be picked up from where it left off on May 4.

The Lady Longhorns claimed the 1A Region 2 Tournament title with a 3-0 victory over the host team from Izard County April 28.

Viola scored two runs in the third inning and added one more in the fifth.

Johnston earned the win, giving up just three hits while striking out eight and walking two.

She also drove in a run for the Lady Horns, as did Griggs.

Sarah Taylor struck out four for Izard County, while giving up three hits and walking three.

Taylor, Harmony Herron and Kaydie Campbell all hit safely for the Lady Cougars.

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