BENTONVILLE -- Cailey Cochran didn't have to labor as much in the circle Tuesday evening as she did during Bentonville High's trip last week into Louisiana.
The senior right-hander needed just 89 pitches to throw a one-hitter over five innings as the Lady Tigers opened 6A-West Conference play with a 12-0 victory over Springdale Har-Ber at the Tiger Athletic Complex.
The performance was much different than it was last week when Cochran threw 163 pitches in Bentonville's lone win in Louisiana over West Ouachita and tossed 156 more in a no-decision against Ouachita Parish. She struck out 13 of the 20 Lady Wildcats she faced and bailed herself out of the only jam she faced.
"It definitely felt better, but I still have a lot to work on," Cochran said. "This wasn't my best game. Louisiana -- I'm still a little shaken up from that. It wasn't the outcome we were expecting and some tough teams, but we got a win today.
"Louisiana taught us how to battle and how to fight through games and get runs any way we could. I think we took what we experience in Louisiana to conference play, and we'll know how to fight and how to push and get through these close games."
Cochran's only problem came in the third as Har-Ber (2-4, 0-1) loaded the bases on Jacey Ewart's single and two walks, but she picked up a strikeout to end the inning. The Lady Wildcats only had one more base runner with a walk, which was Cochran's fourth.
It was nothing compared to the Louisiana trip when Cochran and McKenzie Vaughan combined to issue 30 walks in four games. The Lady Tigers' pitching duo combined to issue only 39 walks all of last season.
"It was a little wet out here," Bentonville coach Kent Early said. "She had a couple of batters that she struggled with a little bit, but she found it. She finished strong, and that's all we needed."
Bentonville (3-3, 1-0) had just six hits against Har-Ber pitcher Shelby Swaffar, but half of them reached the outfield fence and went for extra bases. The bottom of the Lady Tigers' lineup did the work as Emily Perry and Rebekah Brandon each belted a two-run double to the center-field fence during a five-run first, and Hallie Robison had a two-run triple in the third.
Robison and Brandon each drove in three runs, while Perry and Riley Hayes two in apiece as the sixth through ninth batters had five of Bentonville's six hits.
"That's an important thing: to have the bottom of your lineup to turn things over to the top," Early said. "The top of the order didn't produce like we have, but we were fortunate the bottom of the lineup did it."
Har-Ber 000 00 -- 0 1 0
Bentonville 504 3X -- 12 6 0
Swaffar and Smith; Cochran and Seckington. W-Cochran (3-0). L-Swaffar. Sv-None. HR-None.
Bryant 1, Fort Smith Northside 0 (9)
Gianni Hulett's ninth-inning single drove in the lone run as Bryant edged Northside in 6A-Central action.
Hulett's single scored Isabella Herring, who was put on second to start the ninth and moved to third on Haylie Helton's sacrifice bunt.
Northside (4-3, 0-1) lost despite outhitting Bryant by an 8-6 margin. Danessa Teague and Kylie Templemeyer each had two hits for the Lady Bears.
Sports on 03/13/2019
Print Headline: PREP SOFTBALL Bentonville blanks Har-Ber in 6A-West opener