BY NORM BETZ –
The Mena Ladycats finished the regular season undefeated in conference and were awarded a pair of byes to start the 4A-7 District Tournament held at Waldron High School. The No.1 seeded Ladycats first game of the tourney was against No. 4 seed Nashville. Mena had no trouble with the Lady Scrappettes, cruising to an 11-0 victory in five innings.
The District contest was much different than the regular season match-up. In the regular season neither team scored in regulation, but Mena tallied five runs in the eighth inning to win the game 5-0. In the postseason game, the Ladycats wasted no time putting runs on the board as they added five runs in the opening inning, after junior pitcher Jordan Ward struck out the side in the top of the inning.
Junior Kenzi Spurgin started things off with a single, followed by junior Kristen Kesterson’s double. Junior Macy Brotherton singled to left field, knocking Spurgin home for the Ladycats first run of the game. Senior Jami Miller took over the base running duties for Macy Brotherton and two batters later took a free trip around the bases when sophomore Lexi Brooks homered to left field. Prior to the two-run homer, Kesterson stole home for the second Mena run of the inning. Junior Daryan Torix tripled to center field and one batter later was knocked home when junior Madi Brotherton hit a triple of her own to left field. Mena led Nashville 5-0 after the first inning.
Ward picked up her fourth and fifth strikeouts of the game and then threw out the last batter on a ball hit right back to her. Kesterson was the only Ladycat to connect in the bottom of the second with a single to right field. Ladycats held onto a 5-0 lead after two innings.
Three-up, three-down to start the third inning. Ward struck out the first, caught a line drive for the second and Hansard caught the third to end the top of the third.
Torix singled for her second hit of the game and was pushed home by an RBI double by Ward. Ladycats increased their lead to 6-0, after the third inning.
Nashville sent four to the box in the top of the fourth, with only one reaching base on a walk issued by Ward.
Kesterson singled to left, for her second hit in as many at-bats, while Macy Brotherton was sent to first after being plunked on the hip. Hansard cleared the bases when she jacked a three-run homer over the center field fence. Mena increased their lead to 9-0 after Hansard’s long-ball. Torix followed with her third hit of the game, a double to left field. Madi Brotherton walked and both Torix and Madi Brotherton scored on a two RBI double by Ward to round out the Ladycats scoring for the game. Mena led Nashville 11-0 after four innings of play.
Ward finished the game, just like she started it, striking out the side to advance the Ladycats to the 4A-7 District Championship with an 11-0 victory.