Valley View rallies past Lady Patriots
Five runs in the final inning ended a loss and the regular season for Marion
In a makeup game that signified the end of the regular season for the Marion Lady Patriots but actually happened after the 6A-East Conference tournament due to scheduling issues, the Lady Patriots fell to Valley View 6-5 last Monday in Jonesboro.
Though the contest did allow Valley View (21-5 overall, 12-2 6A/5A-3 Conference) to claim the 6A/5A-3 championship, the game had very little meaning outside of that with both team’s sights set primarily on their respective upcoming state tournaments.
Marion (15-8, 8-2) is slated to start their run at a Class 6A state title this Friday, awaiting the winner of Lake Hamilton (15-10) and Pine Bluff (11-17) in the quarterfinal round of the state tournament.
Meanwhile, Valley View readies for Sylvan Hills (17-13) this Thursday in the first round of the Class 5A state tournament.
When the two teams collided for the last time this season this past Monday at Valley View, the home team jumped on top early, grabbing a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning as an unearned run scored off the bat of Valley View junior Neely Boyd.
And, that was as much action as either team would see for quite a while, as Valley View held onto that one-run advantage until the start of the sixth inning.
Getting the Lady Patriots that far, sophomore Hartley Charlton, who relived sophomore Kyndel Williams after the starter gave up two hits, tossed four and two-third scoreless innings, allowing the one unearned run and eight hits while striking out four batters and allowing a single walk.
In the top of the sixth, Marion finally got to Valley View starter, sophomore Katie Dreiling. Until that point, Marion managed only two hits in the contest, singles from seniors Shelby Carpenter and Destiny King back in the top of the first frame. In fact, outside King being struck by a pitch in the top of the third inning, Marion was held without base runner from the second until the sixth inning.
But, in the next to last frame, King got the Lady Patriots going with a leadoff double, eventually coming around to score and tie the game at one all on a bunt by Carpenter.
Fellow senior and Marion backstop Haley Cook then drove in Carpenter with a double to leftfield, giving Marion their first lead of the contest at 2-1.
Holding the one-run advantage in the top of the seventh and final inning, Marion knocked in some insurance runs. With two outs, King again doubled, driving in sophomore McKinsey Glausier. King’s double to leftfield must have looked fun because fellow senior Blakeleigh Garrison decided to place a ball in the exact same spot one batter later, getting the exact same result as King scored to up the Lady Patriots lead to 4-1. Carpenter then drove in Garrison with by smoking a ground ball to center, allowing Marion to carry a four-run lead into the bottom of the seventh.
But, the home team wasn’t done yet. Dreiling helped her own cause, singling in a run off Marion sophomore Meagan Adams with one out in the final inning and the rest of the Valley View team took notice, driving in five more runs before Marion could record the final two outs to seal the come-from-behind 6-5 win. Adams left the hill for Marion after recording five outs while surrendering five runs (all earned) on five hits and one walk with no strikeouts.
At the plate for Marion, King and Carpenter made the most of their last regular season game. King had a perfect game in the batter’s box, going 3-for-3 while scoring two runs and driving in a run and Carpenter went 2-for-4 driving in two runs and scoring a run.
Overall, Valley View outhit Marion 15-8 and the Lady Patriots committed three errors in the field as opposed to their opponents perfect fielding night.
All attention for Marion now, however, turns to Greenwood as the Lady Patriots, the one-seed from the Eastern region, enjoy a first-round bye on Thursday before taking the field in the 2018 Arkansas 6A Softball State Tournament for the first time in the quarterfinal round on Friday at 5:30 p.m.
By Collins Peeples