Lady Bobcats advance: No drama for Berryville in 1st-round win
By Scott Loftis
There wasn’t much suspense in the Berryville Lady Bobcats’ quest for a return trip to the 4A North Regional softball tournament.
The Lady Bobcats punched their ticket with relative ease, jumping out to an early lead and cruising to a 9-2 victory over Gentry on Tuesday in the first round of the 4A-1 District Tournament at Farmington.
The Lady Bobcats took the lead with two runs in the first inning and never looked back. Berryville (13-10, 5-3) led 7-0 after scoring four runs in the bottom of the fourth.
“The girls played really well,” said Berryville coach Josh Hatfield. “Everything went pretty good. It’s always good to get out front and put some pressure on the other team.”
Senior Hayley Rivett, junior Kate Powell and sophomore Lora Grace Hill each had two of the Lady Bobcats’ 10 hits. Rivett scored twice, and she and junior Eve Linz each drove in two runs.
Senior Taylor Kelley pitched a complete game to earn the victory. Kelley threw 85 pitches, allowing two runs on eight hits and one walk with two strikeouts.
“She did a nice job,” Hatfield said.
Hill scored Berryville’s first run on a Gentry error in the first inning, and Powell added a double to score Rivett and make it 2-0.
Senior Maleah Bryant drew a leadoff walk and scored on a bunt by Kelley in the second inning.
The Lady Bobcats opened up some distance with four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Junior Anna Caroline Stone’s RBI single was followed by a two-run single from Rivett, then Stone scored on a groundout to make it 7-0.
After Gentry (12-8, 2-6) got two runs in the fifth, Linz answered with a two-run triple in the bottom of the sixth.
Berryville played top-seeded Farmington in a semifinal game Thursday night at Gentry.
The third-place and championship games will be played Friday, also at Gentry.
The regional tournament begins Thursday, May 2, at Farmington. A first-round regional win would send Berryville to the Class 4A State Tournament for the second consecutive year.
Even though the Lady Bobcats are assured a spot in the regionals, Hatfield said seeding is important.
“The more you can win here (in the district tournament), the better chance it gives you,” he said. “We definitely want to try to get a higher seed.”