It was just a little bloop hit that landed over the first baseman, but it was all that was needed in one of the tightest championship games that weekend.
With a runner on second and two outs, White Hall senior Rachel Box hit a lazy fly ball that fell, giving the Lady Bulldogs the 1-0 lead and eventual win the 5A state championship at Bogle Park at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.
“It wasn’t the prettiest of games, but I will take it,” Box said. “A state championship is awesome. I’m still so excited about it.
“It was a whole team effort, all 21 of us did it. It was even better to do it back-to-back.”
White Hall defeated Greenbrier to win its second straight championship. Box had two of White Hall’s three hits.
“It was just an awesome experience,” Box said.
Box finished her senior season with a .494 batting average, 11 home runs and 28 RBIs. She had an on-base percentage of .550.
For he performance, Box was named the SEARK Hitter of the Year for the second time in a row.
“It is an honor, obviously,” Box said. “I couldn’t have done it without the support of my coaches, my family and especially my mother.
“I couldn’t have done it without them and my teammates.”
White Hall head coach Terri Smith has said on a couple of occasions that defeating Benton in the championship game of the Drew Melton Tournament was one of the highlights of the year.
Box agrees but said it was also one of the more emotional times of the year, personally.
“That was kind of a tough game for me because I was actually friends with her,” Box said. “It was a tough tournament for me, emotionally.”
Drew Melton was a senior at Benton High School. She died the day before Thanksgiving last fall due to injuries sustained after a car wreck.
“It is always good to win a tournament, but it is an emotional subject for me,” Box said. “I’m glad we won the tournament, because it was a great way to start our season.
“It was an awesome tournament, awesome benefit and an awesome cause.”
Box said one of the things she is going to miss about White Hall is how her team was like a second family.
“We were so close,” Box said. “We all just got along and we enjoyed being together all the time.
“We would stay late after practice and then go eat after words.
“We were all just a really good group of friends,” Box said. “That was the coolest thing about our team. I loved that part.”
Box hopes she will get the same kind of feeling this fall at Arkansas.
“I’m looking forward to starting the next chapter of my life,” Box said. “Getting to play in Division I softball in the SEC is a dream come true.
“I’m so excited.”
Box had a couple of other offers but chose U of A because it seemed like the best fit.
“I couldn’t pass up the chance to play in the SEC,” Box said. “It seems like a great fit and a great program.
“I love the coaches, love the team and it is a very family atmosphere.
“I loved that.”
Being able to say inside the state of Arkansas was also a huge plus.
“I’m so excited to be able to stay in my state and represent our state,” Box said.