For the second year in a row, Booneville softball players have represented in the FASA World Series as part of a championship team.
This time it was a 14-under group, Riptide, who brought in the honors at Hot Springs last Saturday, winning the title by beating Enid, Okla., 8-3. The team is based in Charleston.
Booneville was represented in the World Series by rising freshman Leigh Swint and upcoming eighth-grader Lexi Franklin. Both players had outstanding tournaments.
To be sophomore Kylie Robinson of Magazine is on the Riptide roster
Riptide won all of their pool play games, including one over Enid, but a setback to Arkansas Havoc on Saturday morning forced them to play through the losers’ bracket. They had to play five games in succession without a break, but they were equal to the task.
In the finals of the losers’ bracket they had a rematch with Havoc and in a wild game, Riptide came out on top 11-10. Franklin nailed down the win by striking out Havoc’s last batter with the tying and winning runs on base.
Riptide had to defeat Enid twice to win the championship and were down 4-2 entering the last inning of the first game. But they came off the deck to score five runs as Charleston’s Rylee Ross put Riptide ahead for good with a two-RBI triple. There were still some tense moments as Franklin issued two walks in the bottom of the inning, but with one out she caught a pop-up and picked off the runner on first to end the game.
In the championship game, Enid broke on top but both Franklin and Swint scored in the bottom of the first as part of a three-run inning, putting Riptide ahead. Enid tied it at 3 and that was how it stayed until a five-run outburst by Riptide gave them control in the bottom of the third. Swint scored one of those runs after a walk and Enid was retired in order as time expired.
Swint batted .647 for the tournament (11 for 17), scoring 11 runs, and also drew eight walks for an on-base percentage of .760. Franklin batted .556 (10 for 18) while scoring 16 runs and picking up two pitching wins and a save.
The previous week Riptide finished third in the 14-under state championship in Conway. For that tournament a third Booneville player, freshman-to-be Layla Byrum, was on the squad and batted a whopping .846 (11 for 13) with 10 runs scored and a slugging percentage of 1.308. Franklin hit .600 and Swint .500 in that tournament with Franklin also getting a couple of wins in the circle.
Robinson batted .353 with 6 RBI in the World Series.
Swint and Byrum will be an immediate help during the 2020 softball season for the LadyCats. Franklin, who smacked two home runs in a tournament against older competition at Paris earlier in the year, must still wait one more year before she dons the purple and gold.
Robinson has logged two seasons for the Lady Rattlers, playing shortstop and catching.