FAYETTEVILLE — White Hall got the break it needed and the Lady Bulldogs won their second straight 5A state softball championship with a 1-0 win over Greenbrier at the University of Arkansas’ Bogle Park.
“It wasn’t pretty, it was kind of ugly but we will take it,” White Hall head coach Terri Smith said. “That definitely wasn’t the prettiest game I’ve ever seen, but a win is a win.”
In the bottom of the fifth inning with two outs and a runner on second, White Hall senior Rachel Box hit a pop fly toward first. The ball dropped between three Greenbrier defenders and Kayla Reep was able to score the game’s only run.
“I saw him call the ball fair and I was like, ‘Go’,” Smith said. “You don’t’ get a lot of chances to score and we had to take the chance.”
Reep led off the inning with an infield single and moved to second on an one-out sacrifice bunt.
“She just misplayed it a little bit,” Greenbrier head coach Brian Butler said of the dropped fly ball. “We couldn’t get the two-out hit and they did.”
White Hall senior Sydnee Clark was named the most valuable player after pitching a complete game. She allowed just one hit, with one walk and four strikeouts.
“It was really nerve-racking as a pitcher because we couldn’t make many errors,” Clark said. “They are a good team, we just had to do our job on the field.”
Greenbrier had a couple of chances to score. In the fourth, Autumn Russell was able to make it to third with two outs and in the fifth, the Lady Panthers had two on with just one out but couldn’t score.
“Sydnee Clark did a great job and we’ve come up with two-out hits all year,” Butler said. “We just couldn’t get the two-out hit and they did.”
For Greenbrier, senior Aundrea Hardin pitched a complete game. She allowed just one run (earned) on four hits with three walks and eight strikeouts.
“Both of them pitched really well,” Butler said. “They got the breaks and we didn’t. That is the game right there. With two outs that ball drops.
“If we get a two-out hit, then we get the break. They got the break and we didn’t.”
White Hall had an opportunity to score in the fourth inning after loading the bases on three straight walks with two outs. A strikeout by Ciara Linker ended the inning, stranding the runners.
With one out and a runner on first in the top of the fifth, Greenbrier’s Maranda Clendenin got the Lady Panthers’ only hit with a single up the middle. The runners moved to second and third with two outs, but were stranded there.
“We have battled all year,” Butler said. “We won 25 games and put ourselves in this position.
“We just played really well, came together and played really hard. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
For White Hall, Box finished with two hits and an RBI.
“This and beating Benton at the beginning of the year are probably my two proudest moments for this season,” Smith said. “I knew we could do it.
“We couldn’t have had a better season.”
Greenbrier 000 000 0 – 0 1 1
White Hall 000 010 x – 1 4 2
W — Sydnee Clark (White Hall).
L — Aundrea Hardin (Greenbrier).
Hits — Maranda Clendenin (Greenbrier); Rachel Box (2), Kayla Reep, Lindsey Williams (White Hall).
SB – Autumn Russell (Greenbrier).
SF – Clark (White Hall); Ashley Anderson (Greenbrier).