Howard County will be represented in Blue and White at the state Class 1A baseball and softball championships this week (May 9-12) in Mountain Home.
The Dierks Lady Outlaws and Outlaws will enter the tournament as second seeds earned during rain-delayed 4-1A regional play hosted by Dierks last week. Both teams drew first-round byes and will play today (Thursday) at the Mountain Home Park.
The Lady Outlaws are set to open play at 12 noon against Mt. Vernon-Enola, who finished second in region 3-1A. The tournament bracket lists the game location as F2=Keller Park K2. The Outlaws will also enter the tournament Thursday at 12:30 against second-place 3-1A Midland. The bracket lists the game location as F2=Cooper Park.
After the games got back on track Friday, Dierks seemed ready for a regional sweep. The Lady Outlaws threw a no-hitter to open the tournament en route to a 16-1 win over Hartford before hanging a 17-2 loss on Scranton in the semi-finals.
A familiar foe, Mount Ida, also moved through the bracket with big wins over Western Yell County and Acorn and turned back the Lady Outlaws in the championship game 7-2. Acorn and Scranton will enter the state tournament as the third and fourth seeds.
The Outlaws also plowed through Hartford and Mount Ida and had not allowed a run until they faced the Kirby Trojans in the finals. The Trojans, with a 24-1 win over WYC and a 10-0 win over County Line under their belt, started a comeback in the fourth inning which coupled with six Outlaw errors and ended with a 13-7 win.
County Line finished in third and Mount Ida fourth to qualify for the state tournament.
Lady Outlaws 16
The Lady Outlaws used a no-hitter and the 10-run rule to abbreviate their game against Hartford when nine runs crossed the plate in the fourth inning.
Dierks collected 15 hits led by Delaney Eckert’s 4/4 day with 5 RBI that included two doubles and four runs scored. Macy Eckert went 2/1 at the plate with a home run and 4 RBI. Also driving in runs were Halle Mounts (3/2), Lexi Simmons (4/1), Jaycee Runnels (2/1), Annaliese Stamps (3/1). Other hitters included Madison Burgess (3/2), Kynsie Hill (3/2) and Breanna Mounts (2/1).
Delaney Eckert and Simmons split duties in front of an error-free offense with both throwing two innings. Eckert allowed one earned run, struck out four and walked six while Simmons kept the Hartford bats quiet with five strikeouts and no walks.
Lady Outlaws 17
Dierks also got their win over Scranton via the 10-run rule after allowing two runs early.
Pitcher Delaney Eckert kept Scranton to four hits and one earned run while the Lady Outlaw batters collected 14 hits.
Three Lady Outlaws went 3/2 at the plate to drive in three runs each – Hill, Burgess and Simmons. Also collecting RBIs were Mounts (2/4), D. Eckert (3/5), M. Eckert (2/4) and Stamps (1/3).
Scranton had eight errors with Dierks marking two.
Mount Ida 7
Lady Outlaws 2
After opening with two scoreless innings, Mount Ida plated their first two runs in the third inning. Dierks responded with two runs in the top of the fourth but MI countered with three in the bottom. The Lady Lions tacked on two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning for the win.
Dierks was held to six hits. Hitters included Burgess (2/3), D. Eckert (1/3), Runnels (1/3), M. Eckert (1/2 2RBI), Breanna Mounts (1/3).
Simmons pitched 4.1 innings for Dierks and allowed nine hits, five earned runs and walked one. D. Eckert came on in relief for 1.2 innings and allowed two hits, struck out one and walked four.
The 10-run rule was also in play when the Outlaws downed Hartford 18-0 Friday morning after a night of rain. The Outlaws racked up 14 hits in the four-inning game and Jarett Fox and Chandler Lowrey combined to hold the opponent to one hit.
John Cothren led the Outlaw offense going 3/3 with 4 RBI followed by Fox (2/2 with a home run 4 RBI) and George Thomas (2/2 2 RBI). Collecting hits were Blake Bradshaw (2/2 1 RBI), Zane Cox (1/2 1 RBI), Jace Jackson (1/2 1 RBI), Kaden Helms (1 RBI), Blayn Turner (2/3) and Grant Strasner (1/3).
Neither team had any errors in the field.
Mount Ida 0
Zane Cox threw six innings of one-hit baseball at the Mount Lions in the semifinals to guide the Outlaws to the championship game. Cox struck out seven Lions and walked one. Strasner stepped in for one inning to close out the game with two strikeouts.
Dierks had 11 hits off MI pitchers Jackson and Carr. Hitters included Bradshaw (2/4), Cox (3/4 1 RBI), Turner (1/2 2 RBI), Fox (2/4 1 RBI), Lowrey (1/2) and Jackson (2/4 2 RBI).
MI had two errors in the field and Dierks committed one.
The Kirby Trojans capitalized on determination and a handful of Dierks errors in critical situations to earn the regional title and a trip to Mountain Home.
After both teams scraped to keep the game tied at 0-0, Kirby open the scoring with a single run in the top of the fourth. Dierks responded by gaining a 4-1 lead but their defense and the Trojan bats resulted in eight more runs to give Kirby a 9-4 lead in the top of the sixth. Dierks cut the lead to 9-7 in the bottom half but Kirby added four more in the seventh and then successfully defended the 13-7 win.
Dierks collected 10 hits off of Kirby pitchers Deric Putz, Hayden Johnson and Jordan Bates. Kirby had 11 hits off Outlaws Turner and Strasner.
Kirby hitters included Johnson (1/4), Putz (2/5), Carson Smith (3/3 2 RBI), Tyler Mann (2/4 2 RBI), Bates (2/4 1 RBI) and Blake Turner (1/5 1 RBI).
Dierks hitters included Bradshaw (1/3 1 RBI), Cox (1/4), Thomas (3/4 1 RBI), Lowrey (1/3 2 RBI), Fox (1/4 2 RBI), Cothren (1/4) and Jackson (2/4).