For the second consecutive week the Heber Springs 7U Cardinals captured second place in a USSSA sanctioned state tournament.
The hard-hitting Cardinals avenged a loss to last week's champion, Vilonia, edging the Southern Tees 14-13 on Sunday in the semifinals.
But Paragould's upstart Arkansas Venom, which claimed to be winless on the season coming in, also brought the big sticks, downing Heber 25-17 in a 4-inning championship game.
The Cardinals' run to the title game started with a 20-2 thumping of Cabot's Southern Crushers in the first game of pool play on Saturday at the Heber Springs Sports Complex. Heber then ran into Paragould, who defeated the Cardinals 18-6. But Heber showed resilience in bracket play on Sunday, scoring seven runs in one inning to nip Ozark's Thunder, 7-6.
Heber advanced to play Vilonia with a shot at the championship game and pulled out a thrilling victory, clinching at least second place in two straight state tournaments – the first in Conway and this past weekend in Heber.
In stark contrast to the first meeting with Paragould, Heber jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the top of the first inning. But, the Venom would battle back.
Tied at 14-all entering the bottom half of the third inning, Paragould scored a limit of seven runs and held Heber to three in the top half of the fourth. The Venom secured the championship with four more runs in the bottom of the fourth, pulling away for an eight-run win.
Impressively for the Cardinals, each player contributed offensively, including Liam Buffalo, Ladd Choate, Chris Roberts, Ty West, Gideon Tate, Maddox Reed, Zander Lindley, Kenan Sneed, Gus West, Corey Vines, Jacob Harrod and Corbin Jones.