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NORTH LITTLE ROCK SOFTBALL | Cats finally back on the field, winning

After an extended layoff, the North Little Rock Charging Lady Wildcats had a flurry of activity in the past week. From last Wednesday until this past Tuesday, they have played six games and won five of those six.

Prior to the burst of activity, North Little Rock (18-4, 11-2 6A/7A-East) hadn’t played since April 17 when it defeated Marion, 8-5. Last Wednesday, the Lady Wildcats swept Mountain Home in a doubleheader, had a 2-0 setback to Marion last Thursday and downed Cabot, 11-1, last Friday. The Cabot contest secured a share of the conference title with the Lady Panthers (provided North Little Rock defeated Jonesboro yesterday), but North Little Rock secured the number seed into the state tournament. This past Tuesday, the Lady Wildcats pounded Little Rock Central, 18-2 and 18-0.

“I think the layoff helped us and recharged our batteries,” North Little Rock Coach Anthony Cantrell said. “That first inning at Mountain Home we scored seven runs and was one of the best first innings I’ve been involved in.”

In the second game, the Lady Wildcats had to score five runs in one inning to secure the win. Against Marion, North Little Rock stranded 13 baserunners and just didn’t get the timely hits while also allowing two unearned runs. Cantrell said poor scheduling on his part might have had to do with North Little Rock’s performance. Not trying to make excuses, the team didn’t return from Mountain Home until about 2 a.m. then played Marion the same day.

The Cabot contest was a different story as the Lady Wildcats piled up the 11 runs on 10 hits. Rachel Gregory threw a two-hitter.

“I think losing to Marion woke us up a little bit,” Cantrell said. “We really played well and didn’t make an error.”

Yesterday’s Jonesboro contest is the last conference game, and North Little Rock won the first meeting. Even though Jonesboro was missing a couple of players the first time, the Lady Wildcats came out strong and built an early lead.

“If we come out came out early and hit, we are tough to beat,” Cantrell said. “If we get an early lead and a little momentum, our girls carry it through. The key is to start early and keep pushing the pedal.”

North Little Rock finishes the season with a home matchup Thursday against Benton. Monday, they meet Beebe in a rescheduled contest.

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