Play­ing For All The Mar­bles


Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - SPORTS WEEK - By Mark Humphrey

FARM­ING­TON — Ap­pear­ing in its last Class 5A state soft­ball tour­na­ment for the forsee­able fu­ture, Farm­ing­ton wants to win it all.

The Lady Car­di­nals, who will re­turn to 4A com­pe­ti­tion next sea­son, are in po­si­tion to do just that by virtue of an 8-3 de­feat of De Queen in Satur­day’s State 5A semi­fi­nal at Har­ri­son.

There were some anxious mo­ments early. De Queen scored 3 runs in the bot­tom of the first in­ning to wipe out a 1-0 Farm­ing­ton lead. Farm­ng­ton starter Paige Devec­sery is­sued one of 4 walks, and an er­ror put another run­ner on base. De Queen’s Madi­son Run­nels took full ad­van­tage by hit­ting a 3-run homer off Devec­sery, who al­lowed just 4 other hits.

Run­nels’ homer gave De Queen a 3-1 lead after one in­ning of play, but Farm­ing­ton didn’t back off with the lead chang­ing hands.

“That was not a hang-your­head mo­ment, be­cause we felt like

we could get those (runs) back and Paige went on to make a lot of qual­ity pitches against good hit­ters,” said Farm­ing­ton coach Steve Mor­gan. “She and (head) Coach (Randy) Osnes were in tune to ex­e­cute the game plan. They (De Queen) had that one good swing, but ev­ery­thing else worked beau­ti­fully. I have to in­clude (catcher) Alyssa Reed, she’s the one call­ing the pitches, in that golden tri­an­gle of call­ing pitches and ex­e­cut­ing pitches.”

Mor­gan was re­fer­ring to a sense of con­fi­dence Farm­ing­ton gained from its first at-bat.

Lady Car­di­nal lead­off hit­ter Car­ley An­twine sin­gled to be­gin the game. She moved to sec­ond when Alyssa Reed was hit by a pitch. Farm­ing­ton scored on Madi­son Par­rish’s RBI dou­ble to take a 1-0 lead.

“Qual­ity at-bats has been a goal of ours all sea­son long,” Mor­gan said. “When we scored the first run we had very pro­duc­tive at-bats from Car­ley An­twine and Madi­son Par­rish that hit the ball hard. Hit­ting the ball hard early gave the team con­fi­dence at the plate. The feel­ing of con­fi­dence helped us over­come a two-run deficit.”

After De Queen’s 3-run out­burst, Farm­ing­ton went back to work in the top of the sec­ond and pushed a run across to make the score 3-2. Devec­sery over­came the rough start, by strik­ing out 6 and went the dis­tance to pro­pel Farm­ing­ton its first Class 5A State cham­pi­onship game. The Lady Car­di­nals take the field against 5A West ri­val Green­brier at Ben­ton High School’s soft­ball field at 10 a.m. Satur­day.

The Lady Car­di­nal of­fense, which had strug­gled in State 5A tour­na­ment wins over Mag­no­lia (5-4) and Paragould (7-0) came up big with 3 runs in the fourth. Farm­ing­ton’s 2-out rally be­gan with Kally Stout’s solo home run, her first of the sea­son, that tied the game at 3-3. Stout knocked a 1-1 pitch over the cen­ter field wall.

Her team­mates got ex­cited, yet main­tained poise in the bat­ter’s box. Mor­gan typ­i­cally doesn’t hear the crowd while sit­ting in the dugout with 30 girls scream­ing for their team­mates, but Satur­day he did.

“There was an un­be­liev­able crowd on Satur­day,” Mor­gan said. “They were six to seven deep from home plate to the right field foul pole. The fans were loud. We have a very sup­port­ive crowd and we ap­pre­ci­ated that. It was a very no­tice­able crowd. It was mas­sive.”

Par­rish and Reed walked to put two run­ners on, each with free passes. See­ing that, sopho­more McKenzi Bo­gan sin­gled to drive in Par­rish for the go-ahead run and Farm­ing­ton was up, 4-3. After fall­ing be­hind 0-2, Paige An­der­son drilled an RBI sin­gle to give the Lady Car­di­nals an in­sur­ance run and a 5-3 cush­ion.

An in­ning later, An­twine blasted a solo home run out of the ball­park and Farm­ing­ton ex­tended its lead to 5-3.

Devec­sery got out of trou­ble in the sixth-in­ning with­out al­low­ing a run after De Queen got two run­ners on.

Farm­ing­ton added a pair of runs in the sev­enth on a De Queen er­ror and a hit-by-pitch walked in a run. Devec­sery re­tired De Queen in or­der to end the game, send­ing the Lady Car­di­nals into their first state cham­pi­onship game since win­ning the 4A crown in 2011.

An­twine, Bo­gan and An­der­son pro­duced 2 hits apiece for Farm­ing­ton.

Lexy Tay­lor took the loss for De Queen. Farm­ing­ton chased her after five and a third in­nings. Tay­lor gave up 6 runs on 9 hits while strik­ing out two.

The Lady Car­di­nals bring a 13-game win­ning streak into the cham­pi­onship fac­ing off against Green­brier, whom iron­i­cally they haven’t played yet this sea­son de­spite be­long­ing to the same con­fer­ence.

“We’re very proud of our con­fer­ence (5A West), they present chal­lenges every sin­gle day and play­ing in a tough con­fer­ence helps pre­pare teams for state com­pe­ti­tion,” Mor­gan said. “We have a lot of re­spect for Green­brier and for the other teams that we’ve played. We’re look­ing for­ward to the chal­lenge.”

Green­brier beat another 5A West team, Mor­ril­ton, by an 11-3 score in Satur­day’s other semi­fi­nal set­ting up an all 5A West fi­nal. Mor­gan notes this won’t be the first time Farm­ing­ton and Green­brier have played for a state ti­tle. He was an as­sis­tant coach when the Car­di­nal baseball team beat Green­brier, 3-2, to win the 1985 Class 2A state cham­pi­onship, and is ea­gerly look­ing for­ward to Satur­day’s show­down.

“I never want this to end, it’s been a lot of fun,” Mor­gan said. “Let’s keep it rolling.”


Farm­ing­ton se­nior out­fielder Cam­ryn Journ­gan gives a No. 1 sign fol­low­ing a state tour­na­ment win. The Lady Car­di­nals beat Mag­no­lia 5-4 Thurs­day, Paragould, 7-0, Fri­day, and De Queen (8-3) Satur­day to ad­vance into this week’s State 5A fi­nals. The...

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