However, despite a gritty effort from Calico Rock, the Lady Horns were not to be denied their 28th win of the season, and the Class 1A Region 2 Tournament championship, as they eased past the Lady Pirates 6-5 in the tourney finals May 7 at the Cougar Sports Complex in Brockwell.
Both squads earned a spot in the Class 1A State Softball Tournament in Bradley.
In the regional championship contest, Viola had to do something it's not had to do much at all this year -- play from behind.
Down by a pair of runs heading into the bottom of the fifth inning, the Lady Horns rallied with two in that frame to set up a dramatic home-half of the seventh.
Down 5-4 in the bottom of the seventh, Haylee Connors started things off for the Lady Horns with a base-on-balls. She later stole second and then third, with Leslie Shrable in the batter's box.
Shrable came through big-time with a hit up the middle that plated Connors, tying the game at 5-all.
Kiersten Moore then reached base on a botched fielder's choice, moving Shrable to second.
Next up, Michaela Thompson hit a chopper to third, and as Shrable was tagged out trying to take third, Moore moved into second base. She then swiped third on a ball in the dirt with Lakynn Brown at the plate.
Then came the payoff for the Lady Longhorns, as another pitch got away for the Lady Pirates, and an alert Moore dashed home to plate the winning run for Viola.
Not only did she post the game-winning run, Moore also took the victory in the circle, allowing eight hits, walking four, hitting two and striking out 12 in a complete-game victory.
Karli Gillihan took the loss for Calico Rock, giving up six hits, fanning five and walking four in seven innings of work.
Calico Rock loaded the bases in the top of the first, but was unable to bring any baserunners home.
Viola took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second, thanks to a triple off the bat of Tristan Burden that scored Hannah Duvall.
Calico Rock wasted little time in pulling even with a one in the visitor's half of the third.
Savannah Skidmore coaxed a walk to get on the basepaths. She later stole second and moved to third on a fielder's choice from Gillihan. Michala Shrable hit a single past third that brought Skidmore in to score, squaring things at 1-all.
Viola moved ahead 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth on a three-bagger from Andrea Duvall that plated Burden.
Then in the top of the fifth, Calico Rock seized the momentum with three runs.
Skidmore and Gillihan came in on a two-RBI hit to center from Shrable. Kerrigan Cook then dropped a hit behind first base that scored Shrable, giving the Lady Pirates a 4-2 cushion.
Viola got a pair of those runs back in the bottom of the fifth, thanks to a triple in the right-center gap from Moore that scored Shrable, and a sacrifice fly from Thompson that drove in Moore, pulling Viola within one run.
But with a pair of runs in dramatic fashion in the bottom of the seventh, the Lady Longhorns earned the right to once again be hailed as regional champions.
In the semis May 5, Viola knocked off Mammoth Spring 5-1, as Moore struck out 13 Lady Bear batters and gave up just one hit.
The Lady Pirates punched their ticket to the finals with a 5-4 win over Izard County, their first victory in four meetings with the Lady Cougars this season.