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Vilonia scores late to trip up Beebe

by Leland Barclay Special to the NWA Democrat-Gazette | May 13, 2022 at 2:16 a.m.

HOT SPRINGS – The Vilonia Lady Eagles gave up a mammoth game-tying home run that squandered an early lead on Thursday.

Unfazed, they scored a run in the sixth inning to take the lead back and added two in the seventh for a 7-4 win over Beebe (21-6) in the first round of the Class 5A state softball tournament at Majestic Field.

Vilonia (16-8) will play Sheridan at noon today in the second round.

Vilonia pounded out hits in every inning, scoring two runs in the second inning and another in the third inning before Beebe scored in the bottom of the inning.

Vilonia added another run in the fourth inning for a 4-1 lead.

Beebe's Allie Dinapoli walked to lead off the home half of the fourth inning, moved to second on a sacrifice by Hailey Shellenbarger, took third on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch to cut Vilonia's lead to 4-2.

In the fifth, Avery Perry blooped a single to start the inning, and after an out scored on a colossal home run by Kiera Pickens to tie the game 4-4.

"Earlier in the year, we played Greenbrier, who is our rival, in a conference doubleheader and beat them pretty good in the first game," Vilonia Coach Kevin Sullivan said. "In the second game, we went to the ninth inning and they got a three spot. We decided there was two ways to respond: We could let it deflate you or you can start all over like it's inning number one and go after it. That's what they did. I'm real happy with the way they responded."

Vilonia responded quickly.

In the top of the sixth, Elise Trautman scored following her third single on a ringing double off the wall in the left-field corner.

After two strikeouts to open the seventh inning, Vilonia added more.

Dita Porterfield doubled to deep right center and trotted home on a home run by Lila Toll.

"Our kids have stayed calm and competed," Sullivan said. "We've lost our share of games, but they've gone down scratching and clawing to the bitter end in the losses."

Trautman earned the win on the mound, going the first five innings before Hope Johnson slammed the door with five strikeouts over the final two innings for the save.

"They're both seniors," Sullivan said. "Hope's got a long delivery and the ball kind of jumps out of her hand. I didn't know how much more Elise could go. We'll go four and three innings sometimes. We've done that a lot."

The game was the third between the two teams with Beebe winning 2-1 in early March and 4-0 two weeks ago in nonconference games.

"They hit the ball well," Beebe Coach Laura Tucker said. "It wasn't our best day all around, but when you play somebody three times that sometimes happens. They're a great team even though they're a three seed. They're conference is tough, and they have a lot of fight in them."


Print Headline: Vilonia scores late to trip up Beebe

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