Parents of the Lady Eagles softball team are already realizing a few things about this season. They are going to need to wash the jerseys almost nightly and expect to play against the biggest and best schools in the state. The Lady Eagles had very little time to enjoy their win over 6A Van Buren in the opening week as they loaded up and headed back the same direction, this time exiting a few miles earlier in Alma for a contest against another large school. The Alma facility is impressive and the field is deep, keeping the ball in the park most nights. Jadyn Hart struck out 16 batters in 6 innings, and Karsyn Tencleve swatted in three as the Lady Eagles routed the Airedales 8-3. They would not get a day off, as they hosted Lamar for a makeup game Wednesday night. Sydney Ward would take the circle, and she downed 17 batters in a complete game performance. The Lady Eagles did not help themselves much offensively, but scored enough to secure the 3-1 conference win. Thursday afternoon, it would be Mansfield coming to town for another matchup against 3A foes. The Lady Eagles put up four runs in the bottom of the first inning and never looked back. Jadyn Hart struck out 14 in a complete game performance that saw her get a first pitch strike on 19 batters.
The weekend was full of games, starting tournament play in Clarksville Friday night against 7A Ft. Smith Northside. The Lady Grizzlies are a talented squad with quality pitching, but the Lady Eagles simply took it to their opponents, putting the ball in play consistently and playing clean defense. The freshman Tencleve was again in the spotlight, pounding the ball and putting a run on the board. Ward and Hart shared the pitching duties in a shutout win, 2-0. With the win, they would advance to play perennial power Bald Knob. The Lady Bulldogs only mustered 5 hits off of Ward, as she peppered the plate with 20 first pitch strikes and 15 strikeouts. Bald Knob was efficient and turned those 5 hits into 4 runs, scoring three in the final frame to take a 4-1 win, handing the Lady Eagles their first defeat of the season. With no time to worry about one that got away, the Lady Eagles had a quick turnaround to play one of the 4A powers, Dardanelle. Paris put up 3 runs in the top of the second inning, and Hart shut them down at the plate, striking out 11 over four innings of work. The Lady Eagles added another win, taking the game 4-1. For their final game of the tournament, the Lady eagles would again face Northside, now tasked with playing the 7A team twice in 24 hours. The Lady Eagles fell behind in the first inning, but they battled all evening, only surrendering 2 hits for the game. Again, the underclassmen continue to develop and impress, this time Kasse Appleton with a three run bomb in the third inning. Paris took their second win over Northside, 3-1 and completed an impressive run in a talent heavy tournament. The Lady Eagles are now 7-1 on the young season, with 5 of the wins coming against upper classification programs. They will be on the road at Scranton and at Greenwood this week before heading to tournament play in Hope leading into their Spring Break.