4A Lady Lions defeat three 7A teams along the way


Photographs by Mike Capshaw

Gravette freshman Cally Kildow delivers a pitch Saturday during the Lady Lions’ 6-2 win against Bentonville West in the semifinals of the Farmington/Fayetteville Invitational. Kildow struck out 13 in the game.

FARMINGTON -- Cabot capped off a perfect run with a 5-0 victory over Gravette to win the two-day Farmington/Fayetteville Invitational on Saturday night.

Left-hander Lauren McClutskey spearheaded the effort and especially was effective by driving in five runs and pitching the Lady Panthers (9-1) to victories in the semifinals and finals. The senior tossed a two-hitter over four innings and had three RBIs to defeat the Lady Lions (6-6) in the championship game.

"She was swinging the bat and kept the hitters off-balance, and we finally played good defense behind her," Cabot coach Chris Cope said.

Despite losing twice to Cabot, a Class 7A team, 4A Gravette had an impressive tournament with wins against 7A teams Bentonville West, Conway and Fayetteville.

"I couldn't be more proud of them this weekend. They came out and fought," Gravette coach Taos Jones said. "This is going to give us a lot of confidence when we get back into our conference season after the break. I'm fired up for the rest of the season, and I know our players are, too."

Freshman right-handed pitcher Cally Kildow, who already has received a Division-I scholarship offer from Syracuse, and the Lady Lions' offense give them a chance to win any game.

Kildow simply ran out of gas after throwing 303 pitches in five appearances during the tourney.

"Gravette's a good hitting ball team," Cope said. "Their pitcher, she mixes it up real good and got us to chase some balls. I think we got her when she was tired after pitching two games in a row, so we got lucky on that one."

Kildow threw 266 pitches in four games Saturday. That included 60 pitches and 12 strikeouts in six innings of a one-hit shutout against Conway to begin Saturday's slate and 100 pitches and 13 strikeouts in a 6-2 win over Bentonville West (9-2) in the semifinals.

Only one run was earned against Cabot in the finals, but Kildow was hampered by two walks during a three-run first inning. She was clearly in a lot of pain after fouling a ball off her lower left leg during the top of the fourth inning. She completed the at-bat and planned to return to the mound before the game ended due to a 70-minute time limit.

"That kid's tough as nails," Jones said. "She was going to go back in there and try to pitch. I don't know if she could go, but we were going to find out because she would never want to come out of a game. That's just the way she is. She's such a competitor."


Gravette 6, Bentonville West 2

A five-run seventh inning lifted the Lady Lions into the finals. Robyn Davis sliced a two-out, two-run double down the right-field line that proved to be the game-winner.

It began as a pitcher's duel with Kildow and West's Hallie Wacaser tossing shutouts through five innings. Kildow, who also had three hits, finished with 13 strikeouts and allowed no earned runs on three hits to pick up the win.

Wacaser almost avoided the big inning when she scooped up Emily Ellis' suicide squeeze bunt attempt and pitched it directly from her glove to home plate for the second out. But Davis was next up, and her big hit opened the floodgates for the big inning.

"It was a fun game," Jones said. "A lot of those kids know each other and love each other because they play travel ball together and because of the proximity (of the schools), so it's becoming a little bit of a rivalry.

Hannah Cole and Keeley Bulza each had two hits and an RBI for the Lady Lions.

For the Lady Wolverines, Alyssa Cordell drove in a run in the seventh inning. Jazmine Dodd singled, stole two bases and scored on a passed ball to even the score at 1-all in the sixth.

Cabot 7, Farmington 2

The Lady Panthers scored all of their runs in the second and third innings, and it was more than enough for McClutskey, who allowed two earned runs on six hits in five innings.

McClutskey and Rylie Hamilton combined for four hits and five RBIs. Hamilton's two-run triple highlighted a four-run third inning.

Carley Antwine and Brandy Wallace had two hits each to pace the Lady Cardinals (6-4). Antwine drove in Wallace with a two-run home run in the fifth inning.

Sports on 03/20/2017

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