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NORTH LITTLE ROCK SOFTBALL Cats on cruise control as state tournament starts

Young. Energetic. Undefeated.

The North Little Rock Lady Charging Wildcats are back in business.

After a couple of lean years by their standards, North Little Rock is back on top with a 14-0 conference record and in the catbird seat going into the state tournament at Springdale’s JB Hunt complex.

They finished undefeated after a double-header sweep of Jonesboro 10-0, and 11-0.

They play Friday in the first round.

“We are cruising along,” coach Anthony Cantrell said. “We’ve played four good games in a row and hope it carries on into the state tournament.”

Cantrell said his team would have to stay intense as they make their run toward a state title.

“We have been intense and aloof at the same time this season,” Cantrell said. “There are teams that are late in the year and they are tired, and banged up, tired of playing softball.”

Cantrell said don’t count his team in that group.

“Our kids are so young, they just want to keep playing,” Cantrell said.

Cantrell credits the energy infusion of three freshmen. Kayleigh Wynne, Hannah Loberchek and Sydney Parr have injected energy into the Lady Cats that Cantrell has spread into the entire team.

“It’s what we have called a contagious energy,” Cantrell said. “It has spread throughout our entire team.”

Cantrell’s prime example is the offense of Katy Kinnison who hit another homerun against Jonesboro and has been the Lady Charging Wildcats’ most consistent source of power.

“She isn’t having to pitch, so she has been able to concentrate on her hitting,” Cantrell said.

The combination of youth in key spots including Wynne’s pitching and Parr setting the table on the bases from her leadoff spot, not only have those three freshmen provided depth that Cantrell has counted on from day one, but have become a part of the team’s nucleus—a nucleus that will likely be key if North Little Rock is to return to the state championship conversation.

Young. Energetic. Undefeated. Could the next word to describe the North Little Rock Lady Charging Wildcats be “champions”?

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