GRAVETTE -- In the final week of the regular season, the Gravette Lady Lions faced the powerful Prairie Grove Lady Tigers softball team in a contest played at Prairie Grove on April 19. The contest came down to how the Gravette girls would perform in their final at-bats.
Gravette, down 7-4 after five innings, managed a pair of runs in the top of the sixth inning to pull within a single run of the Lady Tigers. There was hope for a seventh-inning rally and a win, but strong fielding by the Lady Tigers kept the Lady Lions at bay and gave Prairie Grove a 7-6 conference win over Gravette in six and a half innings of play.
A run in the top of the first inning gave the Lady Lions an early lead, but the Lady Tigers fought back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning. The Lady Lions came back in the second with a run to tie the contest at two-all, and Gravette took the lead for the second time in the top of the fourth with a single run.
Three runs in the bottom of the fourth gave the Lady Tigers a two-run lead, and the Lady Tigers put two more baserunners across home plate in the bottom of the fifth to be up by three.
Brynne Romine managed two runs on three hits for the night, with Keeley Elsea, Taylor Neustel, Brooke Handle and Trinity Burnett having one run each.
Brooke Handle was in the circle for the Lady Lions, completing six innings and throwing 98 pitches. Handle allowed seven runs on 13 hits, including a homer (six earned runs) while walking three and striking out one.
It was a completely different story Thursday night when Gravette returned to their home field to take on the Lady Eagles of Huntsville in the final scheduled home game of the 2021 season.
Gravette jumped out in front of Huntsville with a run in the first, eight in the second, two in the third and one more in the fourth to put the game away, 12-0, over the Lady Eagles.
Handle was in the circle once again, pitching a shutout game. She completing five innings, throwing 51 pitches, and allowed only three hits and no runs, while striking out eight.
Paige Greer led the Lady Lions with three runs, followed by Lizzy Ellis and Romine, each with two. Elsea, Neustel, Handle, Taylor Snow and Burnett rounded out the scoring effort with one run each.
The Lady Lions begin their quest for a state playoff berth with the 4A Region 1 district tournament April 27-30 at a place to be determined.