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PREP SOFTBALL: Robinson delivers game-winner for Southside

April 28, 2021 at 7:00 a.m.

ROGERS -- In a game full of runners stranded on the bases, Fort Smith Southside third baseman Reese Robinson came up with a clutch RBI single in the sixth inning that proved to be enough in a 1-0 win over Rogers Heritage on Tuesday.

The victory secures no worse than the No. 4 seed from the 6A-West for the Lady Mavericks in the upcoming 6A state softball tournament.

Southside first threatened in the first inning after Holly Dingman singled down the third-base line, and a Heritage throwing error during the next at-bat got two runners on the bags with only one out.

A spectacular defensive play would keep the Lady Mavericks out of the scoring column. With two outs, Robinson sent a shot to the outfield and Dingman was waved to come home. A rifle from Lady War Eagle right fielder Berkley Cole to catcher Paige Morrall was on time, and a tag at the plate got Heritage out of the inning unscathed.

"They had their chances early, we had ours, and nobody could get anyone across," Lady Maverick coach Mark Reichert said. "We had someone thrown out in the first inning trying to test the arms in the outfield. They came up and made a great throw from the right field and a great tag at the plate by the catcher. We both left a lot of runners stranded early, but knew it was going to come down to execution."

Over the next four innings both teams left six runners stranded, leaving the game scoreless.

In the top of the sixth, Hana Dingman led-off with a single. The Lady Mavericks sent out Essynce Norwood as a courtesy runner, who moved to second on a wild pitch.

Robinson stepped up to bat with one out and delivered a shot that sent Norwood home, giving Southside a 1-0 lead. She finished the game 2-for-3, and her RBI.

"We made some switches and put a pinch-runner out there," Reichert said. "We executed, got her to second base, and then came up big with a one-out hit to send her across. It was a great softball game, a good, low-scoring softball game."

In the bottom half of the inning, Josephine Patten reached on a bunt single for Heritage. After two ground outs that advanced Patten to third base, Lady Maverick pitcher Meliah Hunter came up big with a strikeout to escape the inning.

Hunter pitched a complete-game, only allowing six hits and leaving eight Heritage base runners stranded. She struck out two batters.

"She's pitched great for us all year long," Reichert said. "We wouldn't be in the position that we are without her. She's a girl who doesn't walk many girls. The key is she was able to locate really well, and we kept the ball on the ground for the most part."

For Heritage, Taylor Mosely went the distance, allowing seven hits and striking out four Lady Mavs. Six different Lady War Eagles recorded a base hit.

The win gives Southside an opportunity to grab the league's No. 3 seed with their remaining schedule, something Reichert knows won't be easy.

"We knew that we had to win one out of the last three to secure the four-spot," he said. "Winning this game did that for us. We have a chance to play for third if we win the games we've won already, and then we have to find a way to beat Bentonville West. They are a great team, and it will take a great game from us to beat them, because they are a top-notch team."

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