Lady Mustangs earn trip to state finals in Fayetteville

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Buffalo Island Central's Lady Mustangs are back in the 2A State Softball finals at Bogle Field in Fayetteville. BIC punched its ticket to this Saturday's state finals against Spring Hill with a 5-1 victory over Parkers Chapel Saturday afternoon at Norphlet. It is the second state finals appearance in four years for BIC, who lost in the 2012 championship. BIC advanced to the Elite Eight in 2013 and made it to the Final Four last season.

BIC (20-4) got a strong pitching performance from Madison Greathouse, who went the distance to earn the victory. The senior right hander gave up just four hits while striking out eight Lady Trojans.

Parkers Chapel scored the game's first run in the bottom of the third on an error to take a 1-0 lead.

The Lady Mustangs scored a pair of runs in the fourth to take a 2-1 edge. Heather Sipes hit an RBI flare just over the shortstop's head, scoring Bailey Owens. The Parkers Chapel outfielder bobbled the ball, allowing Lexie Ray to scamper home with the second run of the inning.

BIC picked up two more runs in the fifth inning. Karoline Thomas and Kelsey Strickland both singled and moved up a base on a passed ball. Owens fisted a blooper down the right field line just out of the reach of the first baseman, scoring both Thomas and Strickland for a 4-1 Lady Mustang advantage.

BIC added a run in the seventh when Catherine Colbert singled and came around to score on Owens' second RBI hit of the game.

"Our girls are hungrier than ever to win a state championship," said BIC coach Marty Williford. "Their fight and determination have brought them this far. The seniors have one more win to get before their high school softball careers are over. As a coach I couldn't be more proud of this group for all their accomplishments thus far. We have grown so close as a team and family. We have had a few bumps in the road, but through all the adversity we have grown closer than ever. We are clicking at the right time. These girls never give up. They just keep on fighting."

The Lady Mustangs began the state tournament with a 6-2 win Thursday afternoon over Quitman. Lexie Ray picked up the pitching victory, going seven innings, allowing six hits and one earned run.

Greathouse had a 2-3 day at the plate, including a double and a pair of RBI. Strickland singled, doubled and scored a run while Owens had a pair of singles, drove in two runs and scored once. Thomas singled and scored a run while Colbert and Hannah Poe also delivered base hits. Sipes scored twice and Molly Hart crossed the plate one time.

BIC scored a run in the top of the seventh inning and then held on to nip Hazen 6-5 in the quarterfinals. Greathouse drove in the winning run with a sharp single up the middle to put BIC on top by a run. Hazen loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning with a chance to tie or win the game, but Greathouse pitched out of the jam to secure the victory for the Lady Mustangs.

Greathouse worked three scoreless innings, striking out five while allowing just one hit to earn the victory. Ray pitched the first four innings, giving up five runs, two earned, on five hits to go along with four strikeouts.

Greathouse finished 2-3 at the plate with a pair of runs scored and an RBI. Thomas also went 2-3 with an RBI and a run scored. Strickland had a pair of hits and an RBI. Owens had an RBI single.Colbert singled and scored once while Hart had a base hit and a run scored.

Game time for Saturday's championship will be 3:00 p.m.

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