Lady Cardinals make State despite loss

SEARCY – The Harmony Grove Lady Cardinals made easy work of Bald Knob on Friday, winning 7-0 to guarantee them a spot in the 2012 3A State Tournament that starts Thursday in Harrison.

The Lady Cardinals were held scoreless in the first inning, but broke out the bats in the second, scoring three on one hit, two errors and a hit by pitch, to take an early 3-0 lead.

After putting up zeros once again in the third and fourth, the Lady Cardinals scored four more runs in the fifth to seal the deal, beating Bald Knob 7-0 to move into the second round of the 3A Regional Tournament.

Starting pitcher Kristen Dempsey tossed a four-hit shutout, walking two and striking out five.

Holly Drombetta led the Lady Cardinals at the plate with a perfect 2-2 showing. Morgan Ramsey added two hits while Aliyah Kennedy, Kristen Fletcher and Robyn Baxley all added a hit in the win.

“We played a really good game,” head coach Sammi Massey said. “We pitched well, had really good defense and also hit well.”

With the win, the Lady Cardinals won a ticket to dance with Rose Bud on Saturday, as they continued to reach a pre-season goal of winning the Regional Tournament. That was not the case as Rose Bud out two-stepped the Lady Cardinals, beating them 4-1.

The Lady Cardinals were held scoreless by Rose Bud until the seventh inning, when they posted a one spot after Dempsey drove in Drombetta with an RBI double.

Rose Bud started the scoring in the first with one run and continued in the fifth, scoring three more.

Walks allowed by Dempsey turned out to be a key factor in the game. She walked four over seven innings, gave up five hits and struck out four in the loss.

Dempsey, however, did lead the Lady Cardinals from the dish, collecting two hits and an RBI. Molly White and Baxley added a hit in the loss also.

“We ran ourselves out of a couple of innings against Rose Bud,” Massey said. “I tried to be aggressive and got one of our girls thrown out at home.There were a couple of miscues defensively but nothing bad,” Massey added. “It just wasn’t our day.”

With the loss, the Lady Cardinals will play today at 1 p.m. to decide who takes on third place before heading into State on Thursday.

Massey said that her team will leave Wednesday for Harrison in pursuit of their fourth state championship in the last 11 years. Harmony Grove won three state titles in a row from 2002-2004, the only three in school history.