The Concord Lady Pirates won three times on Saturday, outscoring South Side Bee Branch, Midland, and Hazen a combined 25-4 to secure the school's first Heber Springs Invitational title in the 1A/2A bracket.
Concord 10, South Side Bee Branch 1
In a first-round matchup of 1A 2-South conference rivals, the Lady Pirates prevailed after accumulating nine hits, highlighted by a leadoff home run from junior shortstop Kaleah Davis, her third home run in four games..
Following Davis’ shot to left field, Concord’s next four batters all scored for a quick 5-0 lead, adding another five runs over the next three innings after a combined four errors from Bee Branch helped Concord’s cause.
Davis led Concord with a 2-for-4 performance, adding a double to go with her leadoff home run. Lizzie White went 2-for-4 while scoring three runs, and big sister Kendall White earned the win in the circle after putting together 5 strikeouts, 2 walks and 4 hits in four innings.
Concord 4, Midland 3
Playing yet another 1A 2-South conference rival, Concord got a go-ahead RBI double from senior catcher Karlie Stubbs to survive a late scare from the Lady Mustangs after a 3-0 lead turned into a 3-3 tie.
After going down in order to start the game, Concord senior pitcher Mallory Benton reached on a fielding error to start the second inning, as senior catcher Karlie Stubbs doubled and freshman left fielder Annalise Cornett singled to bring home Benton.
Junior second baseman Macy Morgan reached on a bunt single to score Stubbs, with senior outfielder Rachel Mote also reaching home thanks to a single from Davis, her third hit in two games, as the Lady Pirates built a 3-0 lead.
In the fourth inning, Midland got its offense going when sisters Blakeley and Olivia Floyd both reached on singles and eventually scored on a double from Lainey Parks. After a Concord error, Parks crossed the plate herself, knotting the game at 3-3.
With two outs remaining in the fifth inning, Concord senior catcher Karlie Stubbs put the Lady Pirates back on top after ripping a double to left field to score Benton, holding on for a 4-3 victory to advance to the finals as time expired in the match.
Stubbs went 2-for-3 at the plate with two doubles, including the game-winning RBI. Benton racked up 8 strikeouts, 2 walks, and 3 hits in the circle.
Concord 11, Hazen 0
After two scoreless innings to start this championship game, the Lady Pirates got the bats rolling in the third and fourth innings, scoring seven unanswered runs that would propel them to the 11-0 victory over the Lady Hornets.
After Morgan added another run in the fifth inning, Davis provided the icing on the cake in the sixth, drilling a double that brought in the game’s final two runs and put the mercy rule into effect, as a ten-run limit had been surpassed after five innings.
Benton finished the day by pitching on of her best games of the season, striking out nine batters, including seven out of the last thirteen, while also just walking two and giving up one hit, which did not come until the fourth inning.
“We started kind of slow this morning, which kind of felt like a letdown from last night’s game, as the sluggishness started to show,” said Concord head coach Michael Strother. “Midland gave us fits, but we found a way to win that contest and get to this final game and the girls got pumped up and did a great job. Mallory pitched well in this one and it was a collective group effort as far as hitting and scoring runs is concerned. We played a lot of games this week so we are pretty tired and will get some rest over the next couple days, but overall it was a good day for us.”
Concord, which now stands with a record of 15-2 and the number one ranking in Class 1A per MaxPreps, finished the week with a 7-0 record while outscoring opponents 68-7, also extending their winning streak to 11 games in a row.
The win over Hazen marks the Lady Pirates’ second consecutive tournament title. Concord won the Ozarks Softball Classic earlier this month, defeating 4A Berryville, 3A Valley Springs and 4A Pea Ridge.