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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Lady Wildcats shut down Heber behind Walters’ one-hitter

  • Trumann junior pitcher Hannah Walters wasn’t overpowering on Friday but very effective, limiting the top-seeded Heber Springs Lady Panthers to only one hit during the fourth-seeded Lady Wildcats’ 5-0 win in the first round of the 4A East Regional tournament at the Heber Sports Complex.

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  • Trumann junior pitcher Hannah Walters wasn’t overpowering on Friday but very effective, limiting the top-seeded Heber Springs Lady Panthers to only one hit during the fourth-seeded Lady Wildcats’ 5-0 win in the first round of the 4A East Regional tournament at the Heber Sports Complex.
    Heber, which finished its season with a record of 20-10, held Trumann scoreless in the top of the first as pitcher Courtney Rackley worked around a two-out single by Kelly Guthrie.
    The Lady Panthers recorded their only hit in the bottom of the first when Alexis Ingram laced a one-out single past third base and into left field but Walters induced a pop-out and notched a strikeout, leaving Ingram stranded in scoring position after stealing second.
    Rackley retired the Lady Wildcats in order in the second and Heber managed a base runner in the bottom half when Courtney Verser was hit-by-a-pitch. But, Walters responded with a strikeout, her second of the frame as the game remained scoreless heading to the third.
    Trumann busted the game open with three runs on four hits in the top of the third, starting when Megan McGowen bunted for a single. With one out, Sarah Halfacre looped a single over shortstop and Sammie Jo Williams reached on an error, loading the bases for Guthrie, who sent a grounder to second.
    Verser fielded Guthrie’s ground ball and cut down McGowen at the plate for the second out. But, with the bases still loaded, Walters helped her own cause by poking a 2 RBI single to shallow center that scored Halfacre and Williams.
    Macy Hicks followed with an RBI double to deep left field that scored Guthrie before shortstop Peyton Vinyard gunned down Walters at home on a relay from left fielder Skye Miller.
    With Trumann leading 3-0, Walters retired the side in order in the third and fourth then she pitched around a leadoff walk issued to Hannah Mangum in the fifth. Meanwhile, Rackley kept the Lady Panthers within striking distance by holding Trumann scoreless until the top of the sixth, when the Lady Wildcats scored two runs on three hits.
    Following three straight one-out singles by Walters, Hicks and Julia Jones, Trumann added an insurance run when Walters scored on a passed ball. Cillia White added an RBI groundout to second that plated Hicks as the Lady Wildcats’ lead grew to 5-0 before Rackley got out of the inning.
    Ingram gave Heber its fourth base runner of the game when she was plunked with one out in the bottom of the sixth and she swiped second but Vinyard lined out to first and pinch-hitter Madi Fires popped out.
    Rackley pitched around singles from Morgan Taylor and Williams in the seventh with the help of Mangum, who threw out Taylor trying to steal second.
    Page 2 of 2 - Trailing 5-0 heading into the bottom half of the seventh, Verser walked with two outs to keep the Lady Panthers alive but not for long as Walters retired Mackenzie Martin on a liner back to the circle.
    Trumann (19-17) lost to Brookland 3-1 in Saturday’s semifinal round and lost to Valley View 5-1 on Monday in the consolation game, meaning the Lady Wildcats will represent the East Region as the No. 4 seed in this week’s state tournament in Nashville.
    Jonesboro Westside won the regional with Monday’s 3-0 win over Brookland in the championship game.
     
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