Manila Lady Lions Fall at State
A slow start doomed the Manila Lady Lions, as they fell in the first round of the 3A state softball tournament Thursday afternoon. The Lions took on the Booneville Bearcats in first round play at Smackover, and dropped a 5-2 decision. With the loss they end their campaign at 22-11, while the Lady Bearcats advanced to take on defending state champion Bald Knob in the quarterfinals.
Tough Booneville pitching held the Lady Lions at bey in the early going, as they were held scoreless in the top of the first as the Lady Bearcats scored one in the home half of the inning. Booneville continued to blank the Manila batters in the second inning as well, as they added two more runs in the home half of the frame to take a 3-0 lead into the third.
Neither of the teams could get a runner home in the third and fourth innings, as Booneville continued to enjoy a 3-0 advantage. The Lady Bearcats struck again in the home half of the fifth, adding two more runs to take a 5-0 lead.
The Lady Lions finally broke the goose egg in the top of the seventh inning, as they scored two runs to set the final score at 5-2.
The Bearcats scored their 5 runs on 8 hits, and committed no errors on the game. Meanwhile, the Manila girls scored their 2 runs on three hits, and recorded 2 errors on the contest.
"You know Booneville was pretty tough, they had some pretty good pitching," noted Lady Lion Coach Craig Wheeler. "And, by the time we sort of caught up to them it was too late. But we played a pretty good game."
Losing five seniors to graduation, the squad will look to re-load for next season and look forward to the chance to once again advance to state.
"We had a good year, we were 22-11, co-conference champions, district champs and made it to the regional and state tournament for the second year in a row, but we'll be looking to improve," he added.
The following day the Lady Bearcats fell to Bald Knob 12-0 and were eliminated. In fact, the Lady Bulldogs advanced through the bracket without giving up a single run, as they posted a 10-0 win over Smackover in the first round, the 12-0 win over Booneville in the second round and an 8-0 victory over Geneoa Central in the state semi-final game. Bald Knob will take on Rose Bud in the state finals this weekend at Fayetteville.