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Smackover to face Genoa Central

by Tony Burns | May 4, 2021 at 9:00 p.m.

When a team posts a 25-2 record in a season, recalling what happened in the 25 wins can be blurry. Remembering the details of the two losses, however, doesn’t take much effort.

Smackover will put its 25-2 record on the line Thursday in the 3A Region 4 Softball Tournament in Ashdown. The Lady Bucks will take on Genoa Central at 3 p.m.

One of Smackover’s two losses came to Genoa Central, 7-1, in the Ashdown Tournament on March 6.

The Lady Bucks committed five errors in that game and gave up four unearned runs in the first inning and two more in the second.

Smackover coach Dennis Steele said his team will have its hands full with the Lady Dragons. The winner will advance to the 3A State Tournament while the loser’s season will be over.

“They’re well coached. They’ve got a good pitcher. They put the ball in play. They don’t strike out a whole lot,” said Steele. The coach didn’t blink at the quality of opponent his team will face.

“We don’t want to play the teams that we 10-run in two innings and everything like that. Now is the time you want to hit your peak and we’re hitting it at the right time. We’ll play some teams and, hey, what better? They beat us 7-1. That was most definitely our worst game of the year.”

Of the Lady Dragons’ pitcher, sophomore Gracie Fowler, Steele added, “I think we had six hits off her. We popped up a lot. She’s not overly fast but she will move the ball around inside and outside.”

Genoa will bring a 12-5 record into the tournament.

The Lady Bucks dominated the 3A 8 conference, going unbeaten and unchallenged. Smackover has won 17 consecutive games. Since a 3-1 win at Parkers Chapel, the Lady Bucks outscored their next four opponents by a combined 39-3. Before the PC game, the Lady Bucks outscored their previous eight opponents by a combined 107-12 after a 4-2 win over Fordyce.

The 3A-8 elected not to have a district tournament and seeded into the regional after the regular season. Steele watched the 3A-7 District Tournament on Saturday. Genoa lost to Fouke 4-2.

On Sunday, Smackover was scrambling to get one more game in against McGehee before the regional tournament. Steele believes his team is as ready as it can be considering the level of competition it has faced and what it will see this week.

“I think, right now, we’re playing pretty solid defense, coming up with some hits and getting good pitching,” he said. “I think we’re peaking at the right time.

“It’s one-and-done, now. We’re just looking forward to it. Our kids are enthusiastic about it. They’re excited to play. Hopefully, we’ve got everything headed in the right direction.”

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