Ladycats finish second at Ashdown tournament

Chuck Hayes
Hayley Lunsford follows through on a swing which resulted in a triple against Cedarville last Tuesday. The junior was 3-for-4 with 4 RBIs and 4 runs scored in the Ladycats’ 23-1 win.

With regularly scheduled games canceled because of conflicts, Booneville softball coach Ronnie Denton entered the Ladycats in the Ashdown Invitational last weekend. The team won two of their three games and finished as runner-up.

The loss in the finals to Nashville did not get the team down as they rolled up impressive wins over Two Rivers and Cedarville, the latter being the conference opener.

Booneville takes on Pottsville tomorrow and ends the week with a conference game at Charleston before spring break commences.

Ashdown Tournament

The Ladycats endured a one hour rain delay last Friday before making short work of their namesakes from Mena in the first round. When the rain delay hit in the first inning, Booneville had the bases loaded, and a walk to Joleigh Tate plated Layla Byrum with the season’s first run. The next run, scored by Leigh Swint, came in on a wild pitch and Brooke Turner followed with a soft grounder that she beat out, scoring Lexi Franklin. Two more walks reloaded the bases and Sara Ulmer drove in two with a double, then Brooklyn Zarlingo followed with a two-RBI single. Byrum followed with a triple and scored on a wild pitch for a 10-0 lead.

The other two runs came in the third inning as Byrum doubled, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Swint’s grounder. Franklin then deposited the next pitch over the center field fence for the 12-0 win. Franklin pitched a no-hitter, striking out eight.

Due to some teams being unable to play, the Ladycats received a bye to the semifinals on Saturday, where they took on another 7-4A team in Hope. After a scoreless first inning, BHS plated a pair in the second. Turner smacked one through the middle and went to third when Hayley Lunsford hit one over the center fielder’s head for a double. Turner scored on a wild pitch and Lunsford came home on a Brylee Washburn grounder.

Booneville took advantage of errors by the Lady Bobcats in the third inning to end the game. Byrum reached base on a dropped fly ball and Swint beat out a bunt. Both runners scored on a single by Franklin, who herself came in when the left fielder first bobbled the ball and then overthrew third base. Tate restarted things with a triple and Turner singled her home. Lunsford then drew a walk and after Turner was forced out, Ulmer also walked. Zarlingo forced Lunsford at home, but Byrum ended it with a shot down the left field line for an in the park grand slam. Franklin gave up only one hit and struck out seven.

But in the finals, Franklin had control problems initially and Nashville took full advantage. The Scrapperettes rattled off five runs in the first inning, as a Booneville error, two wild pitches, a couple of hits and a non-error misplay in the field all contributed. Franklin settled down and pitched a scoreless second inning but Nashville plated two more in the third and three in the fourth. Booneville got only two base runners, on a walk to Byrum in the first and a single by Ulmer in the third.

Ladycats 17, Two Rivers 0

Booneville broke on top with an unearned run in the first inning and after pitcher Brooklyn Zarlingo set the side down in order in the bottom of the first, the Ladycats used their bunting skills to load the bases. Brylee Washburn, Sara Ulmer and Zarlingo all beat out bunts before Layla Byrum dropped one just behind the shortstop to score Washburn. Ulmer came in on an error before Lexi Franklin cleared the bases with a triple. Brooke Turner followed with a single to score Franklin.

Washburn singled to start the third inning before Ulmer plugged the right-center field gap and circled the bases for an in-the-park home run. Two Lady Gator errors resulted in Zarlingo scoring a run before Swint plated Byrum with a double. Franklin followed with her second triple of the game and two more errors and an Ulmer RBI single later, it was 14-0. The Ladycats added three more in the fourth as Hayley Lunsford drove in Swint, who had walked and gone to second on a wild pitch. Tate then reached on an error and Turner picked up Lunsford with a single before Tate scored on a wild pitch for the last run.

Franklin tied a school record with two doubles in a game, first set by Lexi Ross in 2016. Franklin drove in four runs and Ulmer plated three. Zarlingo came within one out of a perfect game but still picked up the no-hitter, striking out 9.

Ladycats 23, Cedarville 1

Booneville wasted no time breaking on top. Brooklyn Zarlingo singles, then Layla Byrum walk before both runners advanced on an error. Lexi Franklin picked both of them up with a double and Brooke Turner singled her home. Cedarville scored an unearned run in the bottom of the first before Booneville blew it open. A walk to Ulmer was followed by a Zarlingo single and an error on the left fielder that allowed both runners to score. Byrum then singled and was doubled home by Swint, who herself scored on Franklin’s single. Franklin then stole second and went to third on an overthrow, scoring on a Joleigh Tate hit. Later, Ulmer singled to score Hayley Lunsford, who had reached on a forceout.

A Lady Pirate error, a hit batter and a misplay in the field loaded the bases for Booneville in the third. Lunsford drove in Swint and Franklin with a single and Washburn picked up Tate with a hit. After Lunsford came in on a wild pitch, Ulmer repeated her feat of the previous day with another in-the-park home run. In the fourth, Swint singled and scored on three wild pitches. After a Turner single, Lunsford launched a shot that was just short of a home run. It went off the base of the fence on the fly for a triple.

BHS added five more in the fifth. Byrum scored on Franklin’s single and then Tate’s single drove in Swint. The ball then got by the center fielder, scoring Franklin and sending Tate to third. Turner drove her home with a single and then scored on a Lunsford double.

Lunsford and Franklin each went 3-for-4 with four RBIs, and Ulmer was 3-for-3 with three RBIs. Zarlingo and Turner also had three hits apiece. Franklin pitched the first three innings, with Zarlingo and Turner finishing it up with an inning each.