Title Bout Rematch: Defending champions hold off Greenbrier again

WHITE HALL — The White Hall Lady Bulldogs met a familiar foe in the Greenbrier Lady Panthers as both teams squared off for the 5A state title last year.

As was last year’s case, both teams played an evenly matched ball game with the two-time defending champoin Lady Bulldogs claiming a narrow 6-5 win on Monday.

“Besides them trying to give me all grey hair, we did okay,” White Hall head coach Terri Smith said with a laugh. “They played really well and kept it together. Even when we got into some situations, they just closed it shut. It shows maturity.”

With the Lady Bulldogs leading 6-3 in the seventh inning, the Lady Panthers tried to mount a late rally. With two and two out, an error on the shortstop allowed the Lady Panthers to score a run to keep the game alive. A potential pickoff throw from the catcher sailed wide and allowed another run to score to make it a one-run game and moved the tying run into scoring position.

However, starting pitcher Lauren Graves clamped down and got the final batter to ground out to finish off the threat.

Graves pitched a solid complete game for the Lady Bulldogs to earn the win. She allowed five hits and five runs (three earned) with three walks and six strikeouts.

“(Graves) stayed ahead in the count,” Smith said. “She’s getting there. She did an excellent job and you can’t say anything bad about it.”

White Hall (6-3) fell behind 1-0 early but responded immediately with an RBI bases-loaded walk to even the score in the bottom of the first. The Lady Bulldogs took the lead in the second inning with an RBI groundout from Southern Arkansas signee Abby Weaver and later added another RBI from Graves.

Greenbrier (8-3) responded with two runs in the fourth inning to tie the game at 3-3, but White Hall responded once again, adding a run in the fifth and two runs in the sixth before the final rally started.

The Lady Bulldogs finished the game with nine hits but stranded eight runners throughout the night. Smith said that while they could have had more opportunities, she was happy with the results.

“I’ll take nine hits any day,” Smith said. “If we can’t win with nine hits, we’re in trouble. As long as we string them together a little bit, we’ll be okay.”

Kayla Reap went 2 for 2 with an RBI to lead White Hall. Weaver had a solid showing with a 1-for-2 performance including a run scored and two RBIs.

Greenbrier was led by Ashley Anderson who ended the night 1 for 2 with a run scored.