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Lady Tiger Softball Team Headed to State Finals


Posted Date: 05/15/2023

The sound of thunder this past week wasn’t completely from the rainstorms that covered the area in recent days. Much of it was from the hot bats swung by Mansfield’s state finals bound Lady Tiger softball team.

With a 14-4 beat down of East Poinsett County on Saturday, May 13, Mansfield now packs its collective bags for a trip to the 2023 class 2A softball state finals to be held at the University of Central Arkansas.

“We have played some of our best ball in the tournament thus far,” said Mansfield center fielder Natalie Allison. “We’re hitting the ball well and our defense is on point.”

Allison, a senior with big time game experience under her belt, was obviously elated as were her Lady Tiger teammates, coaches, and fans.

Mansfield hammered home 28 runs in the first three rounds of the class 2A state tournament held in Greenland on May 11-13. After a close 4-3 victory over the Bigelow Panthers in game one, MHS heated up with 24 runs over the next 2 days and 12 innings. That included a quarter-finals 10-3 victory over the McCory Jaguars.

“Right now we are zoned in and playing the best ball we have played in our softball career,” expressed Brooklyn Adams after the semi-final game versus EPC. “I’m so proud of my teammates and the family we have made this season.”

Adams plays catcher for the Lady Tigers and recently committed to play softball next season for Carl Albert State College.

Battery mate Alyson Edwards has been in the circle throughout the state tournament. Not only has her command of the pitches held opponents to four scores or less through the first three rounds, her bat has sizzled too.

In the semi-finals matchup against EPC, Edwards launched a three run rocket over the left field fence to put Mansfield firmly in control.

“Alyson is doing a great job pitching as always,” pointed out Allison about her junior teammate. “She really does bring us the momentum for the game. We always want to back her up the best we can.”

Sophomore second baseman Trinity Triska confirmed the same sentiments as her older senior teammate as it pertains to backing up teammates. It was Triska that scored the 14th run for Mansfield ending the semi-finals game with a run rule decision in the bottom of the sixth inning.

“It’s always good to know you have your team behind you on the field and cheering for you in the box,” expressed Triska. “We’ve created a bond that helps us stay encouraging and fun to be around yet stay disciplined.”

Mansfield started the season with a modest 4-3 record. Early losses came against seasoned teams with high caliber pedigrees. Since that time the softball group ran their record to 25-3 behind conference, district, and regional championships before entering the state tournament. 

Now, the team stands with 28 wins against still only 3 losses. They look for one more victory to complete a dream season that’s been under construction for three years. 

This is the second time in three years that Mansfield has advanced to the state finals. In 2021, the Lady Tigers dropped a 4-3 heartbreaker to Tuckerman to finish state runner-up. In 2022, Melbourne got hot and ended the Lady Tigers tournament stay in the quarter-finals.

“This is our revenge season with last season not ending the way we planned,” confessed Allison who has already been to four state finals through volleyball and softball over her high school career. 

“We are proud to make it back to the finals,” continued Allison. “Almost all of the team and I have been in the state championship position before. We know how to get things done under pressure and hopefully we bring home another state championship trophy for our town.”

Adams is one of 16 players on the softball roster to have at least one or more championship ring. She, like her many teammates, knows experience and family atmosphere goes a long way.

“I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls to play my last high school season with,” spoke Adams. “We’re all thankful for the community’s support all throughout our season.”

Mansfield will face the Riverside Rebels out of Lake City in the championship game. The Arkansas Activities Association, as of press time, had yet to announce the day and time for the class 2A title match. The AAA will release the finals’ schedule after reviewing graduation dates for all teams involved in championship games across all 6 classifications.

Mansfield softball is under the direction of third year head coach Donnie Eveld. Eveld was recently voted as the 2A-4 conference softball coach of the year. He is assisted by three-time state volleyball coach Kaylie Pyles.

 

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Mansfield School District
402 Grove St.
Mansfield, Arkansas 72944
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