Arkansas Heat finishes 13th at ASA National Softball Tournament

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

MIDLAND, Texas -- The Paragould-based Arkansas Heat softball team tied for 13th in the 103-team ASA 14-and-under A national tournament that wrapped up on Sunday, Aug. 7.

The Heat went 2-1 on Saturday, completing the double-elimination tournament 6-2 and finishing the season 69-15-2 overall. The Heat opened Saturday's play with a 16-5 win over the Riptides of Cincinnati, then topped the Minnesota Renegades 10-2 before falling 11-4 to the Wellington (Fla.) Wild.

The Heat led the Wild 4-3 midway through the sixth inning of their 7-inning contest, but gave up eight runs in the bottom of the sixth.

Katie Lomax, former Buffalo Island Central student and granddaughter of Monette pharmacist Kenny Lomax, led the Heat against the Wild, going 3-for-3 and scoring a run. Madison Manley and Madelyn Poe each added two hits and a run batted in. Kaleigh Wynne and Braxton Burnside each had a hit and an RBI, while Alexus Lawellin, Claire Brown and Samantha Scott contributed a hit apiece. Manley, Scott and Raegan Rogers each also scored a run.

Wynne pitched all 17 innings the Heat played on Saturday, finishing the day with a 2-1 record. She allowed just one hit in the win over the Renegades.

Lawellin was 4-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs against the Renegades, and Brown was 3-for-3 with an RBI and a run. Wynne also contributed two hits and an RBI, while Lomax had a two-run double. Poe, Chase Nelson and Scott each had a hit and an RBI, and Burnside laced a hit and scored a run.

Brown led the way against the Riptides, going 4-for-4 with two RBIs and a run. Nelson had two hits and three RBIs, while Manley, Wynne, Burnside and Lawellin had two hits and an RBI apiece. Scott and Lomax each had a hit and a run.

The Heat scored three runs in the first inning, four in the third and put the Riptides away with an 8-run fourth.

The Heat opened bracket play with a 13-5 win over American Athletics of Corona, Calif., on Wednesday, before dropping a 9-1 decision to Texas Glory on Thursday. The Heat then bounced back to beat St. Louis Fusion 8-3 on Friday.

Scott and Wynne combined to hold the Fusion to five hits over seven innings in Friday's victory, while Lawellin led the Heat's 8-hit attack with two hits, two runs and a run batted in.

The Heat trailed 3-0 after the top of the second inning but responded with five runs in the bottom of the second to take the lead for good. The Heat added two runs in the fourth and one in the fifth to set the final.

Scott gave up three hits over 3 1/3 innings, striking out one, while Wynne pitched the final 3 2/3 innings and allowed just two hits while fanning two.

Poe added a hit and two RBIs in the win over Fusion, while Nelson and Brittany Gentry had a hit, a run and an RBI each. Manley had a hit and an RBI, Wynne drove in a run, Burnside had a triple and scored, and Lomax had a hit and two runs. Rogers also scored for the Heat.

In the loss to Texas Glory, the Heat fell behind 6-0 after two innings and managed just four hits -- one each by Poe, Manley, Wynne and Nelson.

In Wednesday's win over American Athletics, the Heat pounded out 11 hits in its run-rule victory. Poe, Wynne, Burnside and Lawellin each had two hits, with Manley, Nelson and Lomax adding one each. Wynne, Burnside, Lawellin and Lomax each had two RBIs, while Lawellin also scored three times. Poe, Manley, Wynne and Burnside each scored twice.

Scott and Wynne combined on a 6-hitter for the Heat, which scored six runs in the first inning, two in the second and five in the third.

The Heat opened pool play on Monday with a 5-1 victory over the Texas Bombers.

Scott and Wynne combined on a 3-hitter for the Heat, which won despite collecting just one hit. Scott pitched four innings and Wynne two innings, with the pair totaling three strikeouts and one walk.

The Heat trailed 1-0 after an inning, but tied the score in the second when Nelson reached on an error, stole second and came around as the throw from the catcher sailed into center field and past the center fielder.

The Heat went up 2-1 in the fourth when Burnside reached on a two-base error, advanced to third on Gentry's sacrifice bunt and scored on a passed ball.

The Heat put the game away with three runs in the fifth. Wynne reached on a fielder's choice and later scored on the Heat's only hit of the game, Manley's RBI single up the middle. Manley came home on a pair of wild pitches, as did Lawellin, who walked after Manley reached.

The Heat finished 2-0 in pool play, using a six-run fifth inning to rally from a 4-2 deficit and hold off the San Jose (Calif.) Sting 8-7 on Tuesday.

The Heat banged out 16 hits, including a 4-for-4 day by Wynne and a 3-for-3 performance from Lawellin, to earn the top seed for its pool entering bracket play.

Poe added two hits and two runs, while Nelson also had two hits and scored a run. Manley, Burnside and Lomax each contributed a hit and a run, with Scott and Brown also collecting a hit apiece.

Wynne earned the victory in relief despite allowing five runs on three hits and three walks over the final two innings. She struck out a Sting batter with the bases loaded for the game's final out. Nelson allowed two runs on four hits over the first four innings, striking out four and walking one.

The Heat trailed 2-0 after the top of the third inning, but scored twice in the bottom half of the frame to tie it. The Sting went back up 4-2 with two in the top of the fifth, but the Heat responded with six runs in the bottom half of the inning to take an 8-4 lead.

The Heat finished its season with six tournament championships, including the ASA state title.

"I thought we really had a great tournament," said Lomax. "Katie played extremely well. She finished hitting over .650. This is our second year to play in the ASA Gold, which is a step up for us after winning three straight national titles. This is the only tournament that Division 1 college coaches come to scout. We are actually playing up a year in age, so this gives us excellent experience for next year's tournament. Our goal entering this tournament was to be in the top 20, so to finish 13th says a lot, considering there were 103 teams that participated. You have to qualify to participate in this tournament, which is hard to do. We were the only team in Arkansas in the tournament. I really think we have an excellent chance at winning the tournament next year, as we will be one of only two returning teams. It has been a great year for us and we are looking forward to next season."

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