After falling to Pottsville, 9-2, in the opening round of the softball tournament on Saturday, Rose Bud, relegated to the loser's bracket, reeled off four-straight wins, culminating in a rematch with the Lady Apaches in the championship game of the Heber Springs Invitational.
More than eight hours – and four games – after its early-morning defeat, Rose Bud handed Pottsville (20-2) its second loss of the season with a 2-0 shutout to take the team title in the 3A-5A division of the Heber Springs Softball Invitational.
Sophomore Gracie Hartle allowed two hits and three walks over six innings, finishing with two strikeouts. Hartle added a sacrifice RBI at the plate.
“It's been a long day, but I told them after the first game, just come back and we're good enough that we can get back in there,” said Rose Bud coach Scotty Starkey. “That's a good team over there. I think everybody here got their money's worth. That was a good softball game.”
“Gracie Hartle pitched one heck of a game today and our defense was probably the best we've had all year,” said Starkey. “I'm proud of the girls. They didn't back down from that team after getting drilled by them this morning.”
Against opponents not named Pottsville, Rose Bud was 4-0 on the day, outscoring Jacksonville, Baptist Prep, Heber Springs, and Batesville a combined 41 runs to 2.
In the Lady Ramblers' first game of the day, the 9-2 loss to the Lady Apaches, Pottsville junior Aspen Campbell pitched five innings, striking out four while allowing four hits, two earned runs, and no walks. Campbell finished the game 2-for-3 with three RBIs and a home run at the plate. Campbell was absent for Pottsville in the championship game against Rose Bud.
Rose Bud sophomore Josey Mitchell homered in the first game against Pottsville, and junior Gena Cartwright finished with four RBIs and a home run in the Lady Ramblers' 13-0 win over Jacksonville. Gracie Hartle racked up 8 strikeouts with only one hit and one walk allowed against the Lady Titans.
The Lady Ramblers hit four bombs in an 11-2 win against the Baptist Prep Eagles in the loser's bracket on Saturday. Mitchell added two more to her tally, while freshman Hope Hartle and senior Trina Allen added their first home runs of the day.
Freshman Hope Hartle was key in a 7-2 win over Heber Springs on Saturday. Hope Hartle finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs and a double while pitching five innings, allowing six hits, one walk, and one earned run with 4 strikeouts.
Rose Bud coasted through the semifinals against 5A Batesville, 10-0. Mitchell, Lauryn Swaffar, and Carissa Caples finished with two RBIs apiece, while junior Jenna Hipp pitched a one-hit shutout with 5 strikeouts.
Gracie Hartle and Allen batted in the Lady Ramblers' two runs in the finals.
“They didn't get down. We've got four losses and each time we've gotten kind of down,” said Starkey, of the difference in his team's performance in its two games against Pottsville. “I don't want to say we quit, but we just weren't as energetic as we always are. I said no matter what happens, you play hard all the way through, and they did.”
Rose Bud softball will have little chance to rest after its busy day – the Lady Ramblers play a varsity doubleheader at Southside on Thursday, a home game against Greene County Tech on Friday, and against 7A schools Rogers and Bryant on Saturday.