The Benton Lady Panthers are looking to secure at least a No. 2 spot in the 6A State Tournament as they host El Dorado today and Lake Hamilton tomorrow.
After losing to Sheridan last week in 10 innings, the Lady Panthers currently sit in second place in the 6A South with two losses in conference, while Sheridan is 12-1.
Benton will face the El Dorado Lady Wildcats today at 4:30 p.m. at the Lady Panther Softball Complex. El Dorado currently has six seniors on the team and is fresh off a 2-1 loss to Lake Hamilton.
“If we don’t come out focused, it could be a tough game,” Benton head coach Eric Ryan said. “When we went down there earlier this season, we went out onto the field focused and beat them 14-2.
“If we bring that focus to the field tonight, we will be fine.”
Ryan said El Dorado is a “solid, improving team.” Expected to start at pitcher today for the Lady Panthers is Jessica Smith.
“I would like for her to go out there and control the strike zone,” Ryan said. “I want her to hit her spots and move the ball around. I’d like to see a typical outing.
“Jessica does a great job of changing speeds and moving the ball. She always has good control of her pitches.”
Benton will host Lake Hamilton tomorrow night for Senior Night, beginning at 4:30 p.m. Scheduled to start tomorrow is Lauren White.
“Looking to try to start her tomorrow, unless something happens,” Ryan said.
The Lady Panthers, much like every other high school team, have not played a game since last week’s loss to Sheridan. Ryan said he wasn’t worried about any type of rust.
“We had some good practices,” Ryan said. “We got to go inside on Monday and hit, and yesterday we got to get on the field and work on our defense.
“We were a little rusty at first, but we have pretty experienced bunch here and I think they will be able to handle it well.”
The 6A State Tournament starts next Friday at Sherwood.