The Izard County Lady Cougars took an early 1-0 lead, and tacked on five more later, en route to a 6-1 win over the Mammoth Spring Lady Bears in the consolation game of the Class 1A Region 2 Tournament May 7 at the Cougar Sports Complex in Brockwell.
Both teams were still invited to the Class 1A State Tournament in Bradley -- a first-ever invite for the Lady Bears.
Molly Taylor was the winning pitcher for the Lady Cougars, working six innings, allowing five hits and three walks, while striking out seven. Stephanie Shrable came on in relief and struck out a pair in an inning in the circle.
Alex Taylor took the loss for Mammoth Spring, giving up five hits while issuing five walks and fanning six.
The homestanding Lady Cougars got on board in the bottom of the first, thanks in large part to a triple from Makayla Gross.
Up after Gross, Taylor reached first on a dropped third strike and, when Caitlin VanGinhoven threw the ball to first base, Gross scampered home to give Izard County a 1-0 lead.
Jamie Bellows ripped a two-out triple in the top of the second for Mammoth Spring, but she was left stranded at the end of the frame.
The Lady Cougars tacked on a pair of runs in the home-half of the second, as Angel Englehardt led off with a hit. She came around to score on an overthrow of first base on a ball that Taylor Booth bunted just in front of home plate.
Then, Jordan Sherrell dropped a hit to right and, although she was thrown out at the plate trying to score, Booth managed to cross the dish safely, giving the Lady Cougars a 3-0 advantage.
Mammoth Spring's lone run of the game came in the top of the fourth on an RBI-double from Samantha Honeycutt that plated VanGinhoven.
It looked like Mammoth Spring might add another couple of runs, but Taylor got a fly-out to end the inning with two Mammoth Spring baserunners still on the basepaths.
Izard County scored twice in the bottom of the fourth to keep Mammoth Spring at bay. Booth got on base with a base hit and later came in to score from third on a walk to Sherrell, while Taylor blasted a deep shot to center that brought Sherrell home, giving the Lady Cougars a 5-1 cushion. Engelhardt came across home plate on a fielder's choice from Booth in the bottom of the sixth to wrap up Izard County's 6-1 victory.