The heat is on for all three Ouachita County baseball and softball teams as they prepare for multiple conference tournament matchups.
For several teams, a win or set of wins this week would help get their seasons back on track. Other teams are looking to continue their momentum and consistency on the field after good starts.
The Bearden Bears baseball team have been facing tough non-conference opponents, both in tournament play and regular season play. The Bears have a young, but talented team with only two seniors on their roster.
Bearden started the season 1-5, with their only win coming from a 6-4 victory in game two of the Bearden Baseball Classic over the Foreman Gators. The Bears had a big week last week as they took down the Lafayette County Panthers, 6-1 and the Mineral Spring Hornets, 4-2 in their most recent games. Junior pitcher Hudson Young had particularly dominating performances.
The Harmony Grove Lady Hornets started the season 6-1 with a conference record of 2-0. The Lady Hornets did suffer a bit of fatigue after playing two games on Saturday, March 9 and then three games in three days starting Monday. Harmony Grove took down the Prescott Lady Curly Wolves, 2-1 before losing to Glen Rose, 7-2 and DeWitt, 11-1. Among the many players that had standout performances, sophomore centerfielder Eliza Taylor had some of the most consistent performances.
Bearden started off last week with a tough loss to the Junction City Dragons 7-4 on Monday, March 13. They were, however, able to bounce back the following day with a 6-1 win over Lafayette County at home. This win was huge for the Bears as they kicked off conference play with a win. Young was the starting pitcher and only allowed three hits and one run with 13 strikeouts in five innings pitched. As a batter, he accounted for two RBIs, one hit and one run.
On Friday, March 17, the Bears hosted Mineral Springs in another non-conference matchup. Sophomore Tristan Olvey was the starting pitcher for the Bears and had an efficient performance through the first two innings. Young took over for the remaining five innings, allowing one hit, one walk and one run while delivering 13 strikeouts.
Young's highly efficient performance in the pitching game as well as at bat has helped turn the tides on the Bears' season. The Bears now have two different strides of momentum moving forward with the team getting their first conference win as well as the team winning two games in a row.
The Lady Hornets were 1-2 last week as they felt the effects of playing a long tournament previously. In those games, Taylor had consistent performances in the batting and fielding game. She was the only player last week to account for multiple runs.
In the win over Prescott, Taylor accounted for a run and a reach on error in the batting game as well as one putout in the fielding game.
The following day was a tough one on both sides of the field for the Lady Hornets taking on the Glen Rose Beavers. Taylor had one of the biggest hits of the game, accounting for a double-base hit at the bottom of the fifth inning. It was in the fielding game where Taylor shined the brightest as she accounted for five putouts. She made several remarkable leaps and extensions to catch the hit of the Lady Beaver for an out.