LADY CARDS SUF­FER FIRST LOSSES OF SEA­SON

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - SPORTS WEEK - By Mike Cap­shaw

Farm­ing­ton’s soft­ball team opened the Farm­ing­ton/Fayet­teville Tour­na­ment with a 6-5 vic­tory against Pottsville on March 18.

But losses against Fort Smith South­side and Pottsville the fol­low­ing day knocked the Lady Car­di­nals (6-2) out of the dou­ble-elim­i­na­tion tour­na­ment.

“It was a tough day,” said Farm­ing­ton coach Randy Osnes. “We didn’t com­pete very well when we played South­side.”

Led by Andee Tif­fee, South­side de­feated Pottsville in the cham­pi­onship game. Tif­fee, a left-han­der, struck out 12 while al­low­ing one-hit in four in­nings against Pottsville. That com­pleted a three-day span in which Tif­fee struck out 60 bat­ters in 25 in­nings.

De­spite only four of Tif­fee’s strike­outs com­ing against Farm­ing­ton, Osnes was not pleased with his team’s ap­proach at the plate dur­ing the 4-1 loss.

“Fun­da­men­tal flaws in our swings,” Osnes said. “We will work on that over spring break and be ready to go when we play Green­brier [on March 29] af­ter we get back from spring break.”

Later that day, Osnes said he liked the way his play­ers com­peted dur­ing an 8-7 loss against the Lady Apaches, a team that put up 38 runs in four wins to reach the ti­tle game.

The Lady Cards trailed 6-1 be­fore ral­ly­ing to send the game into ex­tra in­nings. They scored three runs in the fifth to tie the score at 5-all and added two more runs in the sixth af­ter the game had passed the 70-minute time limit that was in place dur­ing the tour­na­ment.

But Pottsville an­swered with three runs of its own in the bot­tom of the sixth to cre­ate the fi­nal mar­gin and elim­i­nate Farm­ing­ton.

Bethany McKnight was 3 for 3 with a walk while Alyssa Reed was 2 for 3 with three runs scored. Cal­lie Harper also had two hits for Farm­ing­ton.

“I think we changed a lit­tle bit there [against Pottsville],” Osnes said. “I think we had some op­por­tu­ni­ties to score some more runs, but we left way too many folks (11 to­tal) on base.

“Of course, they hit it well, their kid pitched a good game against us and they are ex­tremely well coached. We just didn’t take ad­van­tage of some op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

The Lady Cards took ad­van­tage of their op­por­tu­ni­ties bet­ter to send Pottsville to the loser’s bracket a day ear­lier as se­nior Bethany McKnight ex­e­cuted a sui­cide squeeze play to push across the win­ning run in the sixth in­ning.

Farm­ing­ton trailed 5-4 head­ing into the bot­tom of the sixth af­ter Pottsville (2-3) took the lead with a run in the top of the in­ning. The In­ter­na­tional tiebreaker rule was in ef­fect, mean­ing each team be­gan the sixth with a run­ner on se­cond base.

The Car­di­nals were able to score two runs af­ter Harper sin­gled to lead off the sixth, set­ting up McKnight’s squeeze bunt that scored Harper from third to win it.

Harper, a ju­nior first base­man, smashed a solo homer to put Farm­ing­ton on the board in the se­cond in­ning.

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