The All-Stars were out and shining bright Friday afternoon at Farris Field on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas, as the West took Game 1 5-1 and the East won the finale by a tally of 10-6. The Lake Area was represented well, as Rose Bud coach Scotty Starkey (East head coach), Quitman coach Stephanie Davis (West assistant coach), Concord’s Kaleah Davis and Kendall White, Rose Bud’s Jenna Hipp and Gracie Hartle (manager), Quitman’s Aspen Johnson, and Pangburn’s Tylar Vernon were all participants in the contest.
The East struck with the first run of the game after Bald Knob’s Hanna Smith came home on an RBI-double from Valley View’s Macy Jo Moody right before the West answered back with a score of their own on Jazmine Dodd’s (Bentonville West) double that turned into a run on Reisa Bakenhus’ (De Queen) single.
The third inning included the first at-bat for a local athlete, as Aspen Johnson of Quitman flew out before Rose Bud’s Jenna Hipp struck out in the fourth. The West took the upper hand in that fourth inning after McKenna Smith (Camden Fairview), Carley Antwine (Farmington), and Macy Belcher all found home plate to give the red team a 4-1 advantage.
After an empty fifth inning from both squads, Concord’s Kendall White moved into the pitching circle for the East, striking out Kamryn Lee (Taylor) and Kaitlin Kirkendoll (Clinton) while getting Raylei Merrell (Foreman) to pop out to second base. White also stepped into the batter’s box in the bottom half of the sixth, having her hit hauled in at second. Classmate and fellow Concord native Kaleah Davis got to bat as well, reaching first base on a fielder’s choice.
The West added an insurance run in the final inning after stringing together back-to-back hits, a single from Lee and a double from Nashville’s Madi Miller, propelling the visitors to the victory.
The East picked up the pace in the second game, racking up 18 hits on their way to a 10-6 triumph to make it an even 1-1 split on the day.
Davis popped out to second to begin the first, but Hipp right behind Davis and made it all the way to third before Bryant’s Raven Loveless got the third out on a tag. On defense, Hipp started on the mound, walking Pangburn’s Tylar Vernon before she was called out on a tag at third placed by Davis to finish off a double play that started when Hipp got Jessica Williams (De Queen) to ground out to first, getting out of the inning on a flyout from Bakenhus.
White led off the second inning, singling up the middle and accumulating the first out on a force play, as Norment, Erin Cameron (Salem), and Karsen Dunavan (Searcy) all turned in base knocks with Norment making the final distance from third to home for a 1-0 lead. After a single from Miller, Hipp retired the next three batters she faced by strikeout, taking a one-hitter into the fourth inning. Six straight hits came for the East, extending their lead to 6-0 that was highlighted by a two-RBI triple from Spring Hill’s Maegan Ward.
The bats awoke for the West as well, going off for six straight hits to cut their deficit to one at 6-5, leading to the East adding two insurance runs from Lonoke’s Sydney Hallum and Smith. The scoring did not stop there for the East, who outscored their opposition 2-1 down the homestretch.
Spring Hill’s Maegan Ward took home most outstanding player honors for the East, with Bailey Buffington of Bauxite taking the same award for the West. Dodd inhaled the game’s most valuable player award.