Belen Sanchez

The Batesville Lady Pioneers split with the Nettleton Lady Raiders Monday afternoon, 4-5 and 8-3. Arkansas Tech signee Belen Sanchez hit a grand slam in the second game.

The Batesville Lady Pioneers softball season came to a close quicker than they hoped. They needed to sweep the Nettleton Lady Raiders Monday afternoon to have a chance at the state tournament.

They fell in the first game 5-4. This put them out of contention of one of the 5A state title bids. The Lady Pioneers won the second game 8-3 on senior night.

Head coach of the Lady Pioneers Scott Hoffman said “Unfortunately, we missed the playoffs by basically two runs. We were so close it hurts.”

The Lady Pioneers had one lone senior on their 2021 squad, Arkansas Tech Signee Belen Sanchez. She launched a grand slam in the top of the sixth inning of the second game.

Both teams were quite from the plate early in the first contest.

The Lady Raiders broke the silence with a three run fourth. The Lady Pioneers cut into their lead with a run in the bottom half of the fifth.

Batesville took the lead with a three run lead in the sixth. However the Lady Raiders answered with two runs in the top of the seventh. The Lady Pioneers were shut out in the bottom of the seventh.

Abby Hurley led the Lady Pioneers in RBIs with two. Caeley Wood led in the hits department with three. Brylie Simpson went the distance on the mound for Batesville. She struck out three batters and only allowed three hits.

In the second game the Lady Pioneers took the lead first in the top of the first.

The Lady Raiders took the lead in the bottom of the second with two of their own runs. Batesville snatched the lead back in the fourth. Nettleton tied the game in their half of the fourth at three. The Lady Pioneers broke out in the sixth with five runs, four of which came from Sanchez’s grand slam.

Kaelyn Gooch led the Lady Pioneers in hits with three. She also pitched three and two thirds innings and struck out three.

With only one senior on this season’s team, the Lady Pioneers had only three girls who had varsity softball experience.

Hoffman said, “I’m disappointed that we are done, but so proud of the way we finished.”

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