Lady Cards rout, wrap up 3A South

HASKELL - The Harmony Grove Lady Cardinals continued their tear through the 3A South conference on Friday with another win. This time the foe was longtime rival Jessieville. With the 11-0 rout of the Lady Lions, Harmony Grove moved their winning streak to an amazing 10 straight, but most of all, brought home another 3A South conference championship and an automatic bid to Regionals.

The Lady Cardinals are now 5-0 in conference play with one game left against Fountain Lake next week in 3A action. Only Arkansas Baptist, a team that Harmony Grove powered through on Monday, is any closer with a 4-1 record.

Lady Cardinal starting pitcher Kristen Dempsey has worked out her early season control problems and has really settled in nicely down the stretch as the Lady Cardinals look to get to the state finals.

After recording two quick outs in the top of the first, Dempsey ran into some early trouble after giving up back-to-back singles. Dempsey escaped the inning with zero damage, bringing the hot hitting bats of the Lady Cardinals offense to the plate.

The bats that had been killing the ball in early innings of games lately were silent through the first two despite getting two runners on via a hit by pitch and two doubles over the course of the first two innings. Morgan Ramsey led the first inning off with a single but was stranded. Macy Coffee and Torie Simmons bashed out back-to-back doubles in the second inning with one out, but were stuck at second and third.

Dempsey ran into some more early inning trouble in the top of the second after allowing a lead-off walk and a single to start the inning. Once again, Dempsey got out of the jam with no damage, striking out the last two hitters and forcing an unassisted ground out to Holly Drombetta at shortstop.

With the score still knotted at 0-0, the Lady Cardinals broke the game open in the third inning with a six-run showing, scoring the first five batters to come to the plate in the inning.

Ramsey led off with a bunt single. Laura Britt followed by drawing the walk to put two on with none out for Drombetta. With a 0-0 count, Drombetta jumped on the first pitch and ripped it for an RBI single to put the Lady Cardinals up 2-0 in the third. Ramsey scored on a wild pitch just before Drombetta’s hit.

Dempsey drew the second walk of the inning for the Lady Cardinals, putting two on with none out for Molly White. Looking at a 2-0 count, White settled down and drove the ball through the infield for another Lady Cardinal RBI single to make it 3-0 still with no outs.

Coffee recorded the Lady Cardinals first out of the inning with a deep fly ball to right field leaving two runners on base with just one out.

Simmons cleaned up the bases with a two-RBI double to make it 5-0 Lady Cardinals. Robyn Baxley kept the inning alive with an RBI single, driving in Simmons after Joie Paape popping out to the catcher for the inning’s second out. Ramsey tallied her second hit of the inning, but was left stranded again after Britt grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.

Dempsey made short work of the Lady Lions in the fourth inning, sitting them down in order on a pop out and two ground outs.

On the other side, the Lady Cardinals continued to power stroke the ball as they plated five more runs in the fourth.

Drombetta reached on an error to start the inning for Harmony Grove. Dempsey quickly sent her back to the dugout with an RBI double to make it 7-0, advantage Lady Cardinals.

White followed with a walk and Coffee reached on a hit by pitch to load the bases with no outs. Simmons followed up with an RBI fielder’s choice, scoring Dempsey to make it 8-0. After a strikeout by Paape, Baxley muscled a two-RBI single to put the Lady Cardinals up 10-0. Ramsey popped out to shortstop for the second out of the inning. After Britt walked to load the bases, Drombetta walked to score Simmons for the game’s final run to make it 11-0.

“We came out and played very well today,” Head Coach Sammi Massey said. “We hit the ball well.”

Dempsey allowed one runner to reach in the fourth and sat Jessieville down in order to win by a score of 11-0 to stay undefeated in conference play.

Dempsey gave up two hits and walked two while striking out seven over five innings.

Simmons and Baxley led the Lady Cardinals at the plate, each going 2 for 3 with three RBIs in the game.

Ramsey and Drombetta both added two hits and two runs in the contest.
“We have an automatic bid to Regionals now, but we have to take care of business in District,” Massey said.

Even though the Lady Cardinals are still undefeated in conference, there are still things that Massey would like to see get better as they continue their run to the state tournament.

“We didn’t have any errors today and I thought we looked good on defense and our pitching was good once again,” Massey said. “I still think that our consistency at the plate could be better because a lot times when we put the ball in play, [the other team] is making errors.”

The Lady Cardinals bashed out 11 hits on Friday and drew five walks.

Harmony Grove played in the Woodlawn Tournament on Saturday as they try to stay sharp before heading into the District Tournament in a couple of weeks. All of the game stories from Saturday are set to be in Monday’s issue of the Saline Courier.