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County of Champions – Woodlawn Wins 5th Baseball Title; Rison Takes Softball Championship

Richardson’s HRs Power Woodlawn Past Taylor, 13-3

BEARS TAKE NO. 5 - (Left) Woodlawn seniors Kolten Barnes (27) and Hunter Hunthrop (14) embrace as their teammates celebrate the Bears’ fifth state title in baseball Friday night at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.
BEARS TAKE NO. 5 – (Left) Woodlawn seniors Kolten Barnes (27) and Hunter Hunthrop (14) embrace as their teammates celebrate the Bears’ fifth state title in baseball Friday night at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Will Richardson had two homeruns, including a three-run shot in the fifth inning, to the lead the Woodlawn Bears to their second consecutive state title Friday night with a 13-3 win in five innings over the Taylor Tigers in the Class 1A State Championship game at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville.

Richardson was named the Most Valuable Player of the game after picking up the pitching victory and going 3-for-4 at the plate with two homeruns, a single and six RBIs. His three-run blast with two out in the fifth invoked the 10-run mercy rule that ended the game.

“He (Richardson) got some good pitches to hit, but he wasn’t the only one to get hits,” said Bears Coach Tommy Richardson.  “Nick Ward (two doubles) hit the ball really well. I thought we hit the ball really well up and down our line up.”

Coach Richardson said the ability of players to make contact throughout the line-up was the difference in the game.

“When you do that, you press the pitching and you run their pitch count up every inning,” Richardson said. “About the 18th pitch, pitchers get flat. That’s our goal – we want to extend every inning. That inning right there (the fifth), for instance, Dalton Rissinger extended that inning by getting a walk and that turned the light on for everybody.”

Will Richardson’s walk-off home run to end the game was a 180-degree difference from the way the game started for Woodlawn.

To read the full article, see the May 24, 2017 print or e-Herald edition of The Herald.

Hurst, Lady ‘Cats Overcome Slow Start to Win Title

LADY ‘CATS WIN FIRST TITLE - The Rison Lady Wildcats hoist up their state championship trophy Saturday morning at Bogle Park in Fayetteville after knocking off defending state champion Spring Hill to win Rison’s first-ever softball title.
LADY ‘CATS WIN FIRST TITLE – The Rison Lady Wildcats hoist up their state championship trophy Saturday morning at Bogle Park in Fayetteville after knocking off defending state champion Spring Hill to win Rison’s first-ever softball title.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Rison Lady Wildcats overcame an early two-run deficit to knock off the two-time defending state champion Spring Hill Lady Bears, 5-2, Saturday morning in the Class 2A State Championship game at Bogle Park on the campus of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

It was Rison’s first-ever state title in softball, and also marked the Lady Wildcats’ third victory over the Lady Bears over the past three weeks. Rison beat Spring Hill, 8-1, in the 7-2A East District Tournament before putting away the Lady Bears, 8-3, in the Class 2A South Regional.

Going into the game, Rison Coach Kristie Saunders said she was a bit concerned about how her team would respond while playing inside a big ball park with a state title on the line.

Spring Hill had an advantage from that prospective considering the Lady Bears were making their third consecutive trip to Bogle Park after winning the past two Class 2A state championships.

Saunders agreed that nerves probably played a role in the early going as Spring Hill scored both of its runs in the top of the first.

The Lady Bears’ Kelsey Gammage led off the game with a single and Taylor Teague then reached on an error in left field that allowed Gammage to score and Teague to reach third with no outs. After a pop-up for the first out, Maegan Ward flied to right, allowing Teague to tag up for another run to make it 2-0. The next Spring Hill batter popped-up for the final out, but not before the Lady Bears had seized the lead and the momentum.

To read the full article, see the May 24, 2017 print or e-Herald edition of The Herald.

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