Lawrence County neighbors Walnut Ridge and Hoxie will both have teams to cheer later this week in the spring state championships.
Walnut Ridge drubbed Harmony Grove 11-0 Saturday to earn a berth in the Class 3A state baseball final. Jaedyn Brown’s walk-off three-run home run sent Hoxie past Smackover 5-2 in the 3A softball semifinals.
All state finals will be played in Benton. The Bobcats will play Harding Academy, a 6-5 winner over Ashdown, in the 3A baseball championship game Friday at 4 p.m.
Walnut Ridge pounded out 11 hits to support pitcher Kel Slusser, who struck out five batters while holding Harmony Grove to five hits over five innings.
Center fielder Logan Sain was 3-for-4 with four RBI and two runs scored to lead the Bobcats. Shortstop Cole Manning homered while driving in two runs and scoring two. Right fielder Kyle Russell was 2-for-2 with two RBI and two runs scored. Catcher Nolan Belcher was 2-for-2 with an RBI. Slusser was 2-for-3. First baseman Will Davis scored twice, and third baseman Mari Thomas added a double.
Walnut Ridge defeated Camden Harmony Grove 6-0 and Danville 5-1 to reach the semifinals. The state championship will be a rematch of the Region 2 championship game, won 13-3 by Harding Academy.
Hoxie pitcher Ashten Wallace scattered five hits over seven innings, while holding Smackover to two runs. Jaedyn Brown finished 1-for-3 after her game-winning home run. Jaecie Brown was 1-for-3 with a triple. Wallace was 1-for-3, and Ali Milburn finished 2-for-3 after starting Hoxie’s seventh-inning rally with a single.
The Lady Mustangs (24-5) will play Baptist Prep, a 2-0 semifinal winner over Paris, in the championship game Saturday at 10 a.m.
Victories over McGehee (9-2) and Booneville (4-3) helped Hoxie advance to the semifinals. The Lady Mustangs have not lost since early April.