BENTON — The final score of the Class 3A state softball championship game doesn’t reflect where the contest stood entering the bottom of the fifth inning.
Hoxie held a 1-0 lead over Baptist Prep and was seven outs from the finish Saturday when the Lady Eagles tied the game on a two-out wild pitch. The momentum completely shifted as Baptist Prep scored three more runs in the fifth and went on to win 9-1.
“We played really well for four innings. Ashten (Wallace) pitched great,” Hoxie coach Scott Brown said. “We had that leadoff walk right there and we talked all year about leadoff walks really hurting us at times, and it hurt us (Saturday). She ended up getting on third and had that wild pitch that tied the game, and it seemed like when that happened we lost all the momentum that we had.
“But Baptist Prep is a really good team and it was their day to win it all. I can’t be any prouder of the girls that I have for just competing the way they did.”
Hoxie (24-6) carried a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning. Jaedyn and Jaecie Brown hit consecutive two-out doubles in the third inning to produce a run for the Lady Mustangs.
Baptist Prep (29-6) tied the game when Karis Turner, who reached on a leadoff walk, scored on a wild pitch. Katie Midkiff hit a two-run single to put the Lady Eagles in front and Maci Henderson added an RBI single, making the score 4-1 before the Lady Mustangs could escape the fifth inning.
Taylor Bornds launched a two-run home run in the sixth to push the Lady Eagles’ lead to 6-1. Midkiff hit an RBI single later in the inning and the Lady Eagles added their last two runs on a fielding error.
Baptist Prep pitchers Macie Welch and Mackenzie Childers combined to strike out 12 batters. Childers and Midkiff both finished 2-for-3 at the plate.
Jaecie Brown was 2-for-3 with an RBI to lead Hoxie. Jaedyn Brown and Ashten Wallace also had hits for the Lady Mustangs, who carried a 20-game winning streak into the state final.
Wallace pitched six innings, giving up nine runs (seven earned) on six hits.