‘Super Tuesday’ for Heber Springs softball

Heber Springs pitcher Nicole Rackley delivers a pitch against White County Central on Monday. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

March 3, 2020

By PHILIP SEATON

Nicole Rackley went two-for-three at the plate and struck out in nine in relief as Heber Springs defeated White County Central, 13-2, on Tuesday.

Heber Springs improved to 2-0 on the young season and won back-t0-back games for the first time since the 2017 season.

The Panthers trailed 2-0 after the Bears plated two runs off Heber Springs starter Madison Clemons before the freshman gave way to Rackley in the second inning.

Clemons struggled in her second start of the season walking four, allowing one hit while striking out two.

“She is going to be in the circle a majority of the year,” Heber Springs coach Dusty West. “She is just getting these first-game jitters out of the way. She’s going to be fine. She has all of the tools that we need out there.”

Clemons also struggled on Monday in the Panthers opener at Maumelle as the Hornets plated eight runs before also giving way to Rackley.

The senior came on in relief on Monday against the Hornets and scattered one run and eight strikeouts over six innings of work as Heber Springs plated five in the fifth, four in the sixth and six in the seventh to claim the win, 16-9.

“I’ve been really happy with Nicole Rackley coming in a as a senior,” West said. “Kinda playing a back-up role in the pitching realm and doing great.

“The last two nights been really proud of Nicole. She’s come in in relief and given up only one run in two games. She’s been a monster on the mound for us.”

Rackley struck out the side in the top of the second before Heber Springs gave her the lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.

Ninth-grader Hope Turney led off the inning by reaching on a walk, taking second on a sacrifice bunt by Adyson Curtis and touching home on an RBI double down the right-field line by freshman Anna Carroll.

Heber Springs catcher Gentry Hamilton. PHILIP SEATON PHOTO

Carroll would touch home after a wild pitch while freshman Jaylea Hooten would score the third run on the inning later after following Carroll with a walk, taking third on the passed ball that scored the Panthers second run and scoring on an RBI ground out off the bat of Gentry Hamilton.

” We put the ball in play and we have good speed this year, and hopefully we’ll use that a lot and small-ball people,” West said. “I am just real proud. First two games of the year, facing live pitching for the first time and to be able to put the bat on ball in play and hit it hard at places, that’s what you are excited about.”

Heber Springs would plate five more in the third. Zoe Monroe and Turney led off the inning with back-to-back singles and both would later score on a single by Carroll.

Carroll and Clemons would touch on a triple by Rackley while Hamilton would drive in Rackley to make it 8-2 Heber Springs after three innings.

“The last two nights we scored a lot of runs, 16 last night and 13 tonight,” West said. “Our bats one through nine have been really solid.”

The Panthers would add five more runs in the fourth as an RBI triple by Curtis and a bases-loaded single by Rackley would plate two more.

“With have only three upperclassman (Rackley, Monroe and Hamilton), a lot of freshmen and sophomores, so it’s always good to start 2-0,” West said. “It’s a good confidence booster for us to get us ready for a conference doubleheader on Monday.

“The three seniors that have been with me for four years, and we are trying to send them out on a good note. They were with me as freshman and we made the state quarterfinals. Our goal is to get them back to the postseason and get these young girls some experiences.”

Carroll paced the Panthers at the plate by going three-for-three with a double, three runs scored and four RBIs.

Heber Springs travels to Sherwood on Thursday to face Sylvan Hills.

“We have got a tough challenge on Thursday,” West said. “We’ll get a quick measuring stick on where we are at.”

The Panthers will open conference Monday against Ozark with a doubleheader in Conway on the University of Central Arkansas campus.

“Getting to play at UCA on the turf in front of college coaches, that is something neat for a girls to do and something we haven’t done in a while,” West said. “We are excited about it.”

Heber Springs was scheduled to face Pottsville on Friday, but because of the state basketball tournament that conference contest will be rescheduled for a later date. Instead, West was able to schedule a junior varsity doubleheader with Batesville at the Heber Springs softball complex. Both games will be five innings.

WHITE COUNTY CENTRAL AT HEBER SPRINGS
March 3
White County Central (0-1)  200 00 -  2  2  0
Heber Springs (2-0)         035 5x - 13 11  0
WP - Nicole Rackley (2-0)
LP - Micah Todd (0-1)
HEBER SPRINGS HIGHLIGHTS: Madison Clemons 1-for-1, stolen base, two walks, HBP, two runs scored; Nicole Rackley 2-for-3, triple, run scored, stolen base, two RBIs and HBP; Gentry Hamilton 1-for-4 with an RBI; Zoe Monroe 1-for-2 two runs scored, HBP and stolen base; Brooklyn Barnes, HBP; Hope Turney 1-for-2 with a walk, two runs scored; Adyson Curtis 1-for-2, triple RBI, run scored and stolen base; Anna Carroll 3-for-3 with a double, three runs scored, three runs scored and four RBIs; Jaylea Hooten 1-for-2 with a walk and two runs scored; and Jade Adamson, HBP.
WHITE COUNTY CENTRAL HIGHLIGHTS: Gracie Rogers, walk, stolen base and run scored; Kalista Altom, walk and run scored; Micah Todd, two walks; Jaci Beals 1-for-3 with an RBI; Taryn Blanton, walk; Kendall Talieje 1-for-2, Maliah Litaker, walk.

HEBER SPRINGS AT MAUMELLE
March 2
Heber Springs (1-0)   010 054 6 - 16
Maumelle (0-1)        801 000 0 -  9
WP - Nicole Rackley (1-0)
LP - Morgan Krebs (0-1)
HEBER SPRINGS HIGHLIGHTS: Madison Clemons, three runs scored; Nicole Rackley, two runs scored; Gentry Hamilton, three runs scored; Brooklyn Barnes, two runs scored; Zoe Monroe, two runs scored; Adyson Curtis, one run; and Jaylea Hooten, three runs scored.
HEBER SPRINGS 2020 SOFTBALL SCHEDULE
COACH DUSTY WEST
RECORD: 2-0
4A-4 RECORD: 0-0
March 2   Heber Springs 16, Maumelle 9
March 3   Heber Springs 13, White County Central 2
March 5   at Sylvan Hills              V/JV      5 p.m.
March 6   Batesville                   JV-DH     4:30 p.m.
March 9   vs. Ozark at UCA *           V DH      4:30 p.m.
March 12  at Riverview                 V/JV      4:30 p.m.
March 13  at Conway St. Joseph         V/JV      4:30 p.m.
March 14  Heber Springs Tournament     V
March 16  at Dover *                   V/JV      4:30 p.m.
March 17  Dardanelle *                 V/JV      4:30 p.m.
March 19  Clinton                      V/JV      5 p.m.
March 30  at Clarksville *             V/JV      4 p.m.
March 31  Morrilton *                  V/JV      4:30 p.m.
April 3   Dover *                      V/JV      4:30 p.m.
April 6   Jacksonville                 V/JV      4:30 p.m.
April 7   at Pottsville *              V/JV      4:30 p.m.
April 13  Cedar Ridge                  V/JV      4:30 p.m.
April 14  at Dardanelle *              V/JV      4:30 p.m.
April 16  at Calico Rock               V/JV      4:30 p.m.
April 20  at Cave City                 V/JV      4 p.m.
April 21  at Morrilton *               V/JV      4:30 p.m.
April 23  at Mayflower                 V/JV      4:30 p.m.
April 27  4A-4 District Tournament at Dover

(* - Indicates 4A-4 Conference Contest)
(Note: Schedule is subject to change due to weather)
(Note: The Heber Springs/Pottsville contest for March 6 will be re-scheduled due to a basketball conflict)

High scores highlight archery regional tournaments

February 12, 2020

By RANDY ZELLERS/AGFC ASSISTANT CHIEF OF COMMUNICATIONS

Arkansas National Archery in the Schools tournament

LITTLE ROCK – Impressive team and individual scores highlighted a Saturday of statewide regional competition of the Arkansas National Archery in the Schools Program, sponsored by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

Two teams from each of 12 regional events across three age groups qualified for the ANASP State Tournament, which will be held at Bank OZK Arena in Hot Springs March 6-7. In addition, 12 more at-large teams were selected from each of the three divisions and will compete in Hot Springs.

The elementary and middle school divisions have Friday, March 6, to themselves in Hot Springs, while the senior division will determine its state champion Saturday, March 7. Admission to the event for spectators is free, but the school whose supporters bring the most canned food items will win cash for their team to purchase equipment and other team items. The prize has been donated by the AGFC Commissioners. The canned food drive at the State Tournament is being held to support Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry.

“There were some really high scores from across the state,” Curtis Gray, the AGFC’s coordinator of ANASP, said of the regional tournaments. “All of the tournaments went off without a hitch and we are now marching towards the State Tournament.”

A total of 3,731 girls and boys competed across the state in the three age groupings. Region 4, staged in Cave City, drew a high of 433 competitors.

“There were really good attendance at all of the regionals across the state with the exceptional weather we had this past weekend,” Gray said. “All of the schools are reporting that they were able to raise more than sufficient funds to support their archery programs and other student organizations on their respective campuses through hosting these tournaments.”

The most excitement among the Senior Division teams may have come at Harrison in Region 2, where Alpena’s boys and girls ran up a weekend best 3,341 points to win over Bergman, which had 3,284 points – enough to win most other regions. Valley Springs missed out on the top two spots by ending 12 points shy of Bergman, but Valley Springs landed an at-large berth with its score of 3,272. In another senior regional thriller, Valley View won Region 4 in Cave City by a mere 7 points over Greene County Tech, 3,239-3,232.

Team scores were determined by totaling the top four girls team member scores, the top four boys team member scores and up to four other boys or girls scores for the team.

Other Senior Division region winners and runner-ups, and their points, were: 1–Arkansas Arts Academy (3,063), Bentonville (2,959); 3–Batesville Pioneers (3,191), Hillcrest (3,002); 5–Charleston (3,077), Waldron (3,064); 6 –VHS Eagles (3,090), Pangburn (2,987); 7–Bryant Hornets (3,301), Oden Timberwolves (2,959); 8–Cabot (3,320), Homeschoolers on Target (3,009); 9–Acorn Tigers (3,257), Murfreesboro Rattlers (3,154); 10–Glen Rose (3,115), Robin’s Hoodlums (3,056); 11–El Dorado Wildcats (3,245), Taylor (3,109); 12–Hamburg (2,933), Drew Central (2,715).

Brady Webb of Acorn scored a 295 with 25 bulls-eyes to lead all senior boys scoring on Saturday. Kaleb Tramel of Pottsville and Jacob Jones of Greene County Tech both totaled 292 at their respective regionals, with Tramel getting one more bulls-eye, 23-22.

Emilee Evers of Bergman amassed 293 points, including 23 bulls-eyes, to lead all senior girls scoring. Allie Strother of Oden amassed 292 points, including 23 bulls-eyes, and Emma Everett of Cabot totaled 290 points with 21 bulls-eyes.

Bullseye at Regional Tournament

Middle school regional winners were: Washington Junior High, Bergman, Batesville, Greene County Tech, Charleston, Pangburn, Bryant, Des Arc, Eagle Eye Archery, Murfreesboro Rattlers, Glen Rose, El Dorado Barton and Hamburg. Finishing in second in their regions were: Woodland Junior High, Alpena, Hillcrest, Valley View, Pottsville, Patriots Archery, Bryant Blue, Cabot North, Wickes, Region 10 Straight Shooters, Washington Middle and Blue Steel.

Hill Farm Elementary of Bryant, which has dominated the Elementary Division at the ANASP State Tournament, cruised on to Hot Springs again in winning Region 7 in Mt. Ida. Other elementary qualifiers for the State Tournament were Bentonville Old High Elementary, Arkansas Arts Academy, Bergman, Omaha, Eagle Mountain Magnet, Southside Batesville Southerners, Valley View Intermediate, Cross County Archers, Charleston, Pottsville Apaches, Hornet Archery, Davis Elementary Knocked and Loaded, PFE Archers, Carlisle, Murfreesboro Rattlers Archery, Vandervoort Sharp Shooters, Glen Rose, Mockingjays, Taylor, Emerson, Hamburg and Monticello Blue Steel.

At-large Elementary Division qualifiers (and points in the regional) were Greene County Tech (2,751), Valley Springs (2,725), Sulphur Rock (2,676), Cedar Ridge (2,657), Collegeville (2,656), Hillcrest (2,608), Searcy County (2,602), Salem (2,576), Maynard (2,557), Springhill (2,465), Parker’s Chapel (2,415) and Jasper (2,401).

Middle school at-large qualifiers were Valley Springs (3,131), Omaha (3,105), Maumelle (3,096), Taylor (3,076), Emerson (3,027), Cabot Junior South (3,024), Acorn (3,014), Southside (2,987), Cross County (2,985), Waldron (2921), Carlisle (2,908) and Searcy County (2,889).

Senior High Division teams earning an at-large berth were Valley Springs (3,272), De Queen (3,139), Pottsville (3,042), Brookland (3,000), Omaha (2,997), Southside (2,987), Cross County (2,965), Perryville (2,958) Jasper (2,955), Blevins (2,952), Fordyce (2,951) and Little Rock Christian Academy (2,947).

Golden Suns picked to Win Sixth Straight Title

August 29, 2019

By ARKANSAS TECH SPORTS INFORMATION

RUSSELLVILLE – Arkansas Tech has been voted the favorite to win the 2019 GAC Women’s Golf Championship, the league announced on Thursday through the preseason coaches’ poll.

The Golden Suns have won the previous five conference championships, the most recent with a come-from-behind win over Southwestern Oklahoma State. Allie Weiner used a career-best 67 in Round 3 to earn the first place individual finish. Jacqueline Klemm, WGCA National Freshman of the year and GAC Freshman of the Year tied for third place with GAC Women’s Golfer of the Year, Peerada PiddonPia Nunbhakdi and Sydney Staton finished in ties for fifth and seventh place, respectively.

Tech took second at the NCAA Central Region Championships in their seventh consecutive appearance at the tournament. Piddon won the individual title with her total card of 216. Klemm finished fourth and Nunbhakdi tied for ninth. The team advanced to the NCAA Division II National Championships for the fifth time in six years and concluded their season with a 10th-place finish.

The 2019-2020 Golden Suns return seven golfers from last year’s roster, including Klemm, Weiner and Staton. Klemm is the first golfer in program history to receive WGCA Division II Freshman of the Year after averaging 74.77 strokes and notching four top 10 finishes in her first season as Golden Sun.  She was named a Division II All-America Honorable Mention and All-Central Region Team by the Women’s Golf Coaches Association. 

Weiner, Staton Makenzie Douglas were named WGCA All-American Scholars. Staton was also named to the All-Central Region Team and All-GAC Second Team.

Six-time GAC Coach of The Year and reigning Division II Golf Pride Central Region Coach of the Year Amy Anderson also welcomes two newcomers to the team, Patranit Chuaychoo from Thailand and Josie Roberson from Maumelle.

The Golden Suns open the 2019-20 season on Sept 23 with the two day Dallas Baptist Invitational at the Robson Ranch Golf Club in Denton, Texas.