MARION – The Marion Lady Patriots started hot for the fourth consecutive game and completed a season sweep of Mountain Home with a 10-3 victory over the Lady Bombers on Thursday at Marion.
Since dropping a 3-0 contest to Brookland last Friday afternoon, Marion (14-5-1, 8-2) has gone 4-0, all conference wins, while averaging 14.75 runs per game.
The victory gives Marion a 2-0 start in games against the 6A-East, while Mountain Home dips to 0-2.
Marion finished with 13 hits against Mountain Home (7-9, 4-6), while striking for four runs in the first inning, three in the third and three more in the fourth frame to bolt out to a 10-0 lead. Marion held off a Mountain Home rally in the top of the fifth to clinch the game’s final.
“It’s great for your team to play out in front like that,” said Marion head coach David Horton. “You don’t have to press. It’s really good for your pitchers, and Hope and Mabry were great today.”
Sophomore Hope Phipps made her second start in as many days for the Lady Pats, and threw a strong 41/3 innings to earn the win. Phipps allowed three runs, none of which were earned, while striking out six and allowing four hits.
Junior Mabry Watson entered in relief of Phipps in the fifth and slammed the door. Marion’s usual shortstop tossed the last 22/3 innings, fanning six of the nine batters she faced.
After Phipps spun a scoreless top of the first, Marion marched nine batters to the plate in the home half, striking for four runs on four hits.
Watson singled and Morgan Weaver reached on a bunt single before Micah Tolleson advanced both with a bunt. Phipps then helped her own cause with a scoring double for a 1-0 Marion advantage.
Mountain Home looked to be out of the jam with two outs when Michelle Long hit a line drive into left field, but the ball wasn’t fielded cleanly and a pair of runs scored. Regan Johnston scored Long with a single and Marion led 4-0.
The Lady Pats were back at it in the third when Phipps reached on an error and Destiny King singled before Long’s triple chased both in. Long scored when Blakeleigh Garrison grounded out, and Marion led 7-0 after three innings.
Marion came up with its last three runs in the fourth when Weaver and Tolleson singled and Phipps plated Weaver with a hit of her own. A long groundout chased Tolleson in, and Phipps finished her hat trick when Johnston singled again.
Trailing 10-0, Mountain Home hit the comeback trail in the fifth when Sydnie Zimmer and Macie Kelly each reached on errors. That duo scored the first two Lady Bomber runs of the day when Raygan Shelton — 1 for 3 with two RBI — doubled and Shelton came in when Hannah Cantrell singled.
“We’re young and we’re making some young mistakes early on. We’re putting ourselves in some tough situations,” said Mountain Home head coach Bobby Bevel. “I will give credit to my kids though. We’re tough and we battled back. It’s a tough deal to be down 10 or nine runs. On that same note, I have to give credit to coach Horton. He does a great job, we have the utmost respect for him and his program, and they capitalized on some mistakes that we made early.”