Unfortunately, the Maumelle Lady Hornets had to face the number-one-ranked team in 5A in their first-round contest in the 5A-West district tournament.
A trip Monday to Farmington ended with a 10-0 loss which also completed the Lady Hornets’ season. After round-robin competition with Greenbrier, Vilonia and Morrilton, Maumelle (15-13) was the fourth seed from those 5A-West foes and had to face the number-one seed from the north half of the 5A-West which was the Lady Cardinals.
“We knew going in, we were going to have to play a perfect defensive game and hit the ball,” Maumelle Coach Jarred White said. “We only had three hits and made errors in the infield.”
White said the Lady Hornets had a chance to score runs in the top of the first after Farmington walked Almond, who was the second batter in the lineup. Cat McNeil followed with a double, but Maumelle couldn’t get a run home. The Lady Cardinals tallied a run in the bottom of the first and added four more in the second. In addition to McNeil, Shelby Forehand and Irrianna Allen hit singles.
“It’s been a struggle to hit all year,” White said. “It’s been our downfall.”
Maumelle finished the regular season last Tuesday with two 15-0 victories over Little Rock Parkview. During the regular season, the Lady Hornets competed in the 5A/6A-Central conference. If going to state was based on their performance in that conference, they would have most likely qualified since they finished second.
“One team we beat 15-0 is going to state,” White said. “It’s frustrating to be in that conference and finish second.”
The Lady Hornets lose four seniors in McNeil, Almond, Taylor Martin and Jordan Cambell. Almond led Maumelle in home runs with nine, and McNeil belted one. When the season started, they were a young team, and White was glad to see the progress.
“I’m happy the girls got better every day,” he said. “We’ve got to become a better hitting team. That’s something we’ll work on and try to catch them up.”
Returning next year is one junior, three sophomores, who saw a lot of playing time and 10 freshmen. White is counting on a group of five freshmen to step up and play next year.