Heber Springs handed 1A power South Side Bee Branch its second loss of the season on Tuesday, rallying for a 4-2 victory while overcoming a questionable call at a critical juncture.
Heber Springs handed 1A power South Side Bee Branch its second loss of the season on Tuesday, rallying for a 4-2 victory while overcoming a questionable call at a critical juncture. After falling behind 2-0 in the top of the fourth inning, Heber answered with four runs on five hits in the bottom half despite a puzzling infield fly call that cost the Lady Panthers an out. Alexis Ingram led off the bottom of the fourth with a single past third, then Makenzie Martin beat out a bunt single and Bridget Muse slammed a single to right field, loading the bases for Hannah Mangum. Mangum delivered an RBI single down the right field line, scoring Ingram as the Lady Panthers sliced their deficit in half at 2-1. With the bases loaded, Heber caught a bad break when McKenzie Cresswell lifted a pop-up over South Side's second base player, who attempted to make an over-the-shoulder catch while running towards right field at a high rate of speed. Considering South Side had its infield playing in to cut down the run at home, Cresswell appeared to have a game-tying hit, which scored Martin. However, after a meeting between umpires, Cresswell was ruled out due to the infield fly rule, which was not immediately placed into effect. Martin scored on Cresswell's pop-up, tying the score at 2-all, and the Lady Panthers refused to let the call break their rhythm as Kaitlyn Bradke pulled an RBI single to left field, plating Muse for a 3-2 lead. Madi Fires beat out an infield single on a slow roller to left side for an RBI that scored Mangum, extending Heber's lead to 4-2 before South Side pitcher Breanna Wells worked out of further trouble. Heber pitcher Courtney Rackley, who gave up two runs on five hits while striking out nine, limited South Side to one base runner in each of the final three innings as the Lady Panthers held tight for the two-run victory. South Side took advantage of two errors to score its two runs in the top of the fourth, but Rackley was resilient, leaving runners stranded at the corners with three consecutive strikeouts. Rackley also left a South Side runner stranded at third base in the top of the second frame, getting out of the jam with a strikeout. In the bottom of the second, Wells pitched around a pair of one-out walks issued to Muse and Mangum, bouncing back with two strikeouts. Wells allowed four runs on seven hits while striking out six in six innings for the Lady Hornets, who fell to 7-2 overall. South Side's only other loss this season came against 3A power Fouke. Skye Miller, Ingram, Martin, Muse, Mangum, Bradke and Fires each contributed a base hit for Heber. Ingram, Martin, Muse and Mangum each scored one run, while Cresswell, Bradke, Fires and Mangum each drove home one run. Heber (6-5) visits Newport for a 2-4A Conference showdown on Monday and hosts Pangburn for a J/V game next Thursday at 4:30 p.m. On Saturday, April 6, the Lady Panthers are scheduled to host an invitational tournament at the Heber Springs Sports Complex.