SHERWOOD — For the second straight day Friday, stormy weather took a big bite out of the 5A state baseball and softball tournaments.
Two suspended baseball games and one suspended softball game from a weather-ravaged Thursday night and Vilonia’s scheduled morning softball game were completed at the Sherwood Sports Complex before Arkansas Activities Association officials called off play for the day after a 45-minute lightning delay and the prospect of stormy weather until early evening.
All the rescheduling means that the semifinals of the tournament will not be completed until at least Monday. All championship games are set for next weekend at the University of Arkansas.
Greenbrier’s quarterfinal baseball game against Sylvan Hills, the first of four regularly scheduled games, was suspended in the third inning with the Panthers leading, 11-1. That game is scheduled to resume at 10 a.m. Saturday.
The quest by the Vilonia girls for a third straight state softball title continued with a 6-1 victory over Beebe. The Lady Eagles get a break until Monday when they will play either DeQueen or Paragould in the semifinals at a time to be announced later.
Beginning with the completion of the Greenbrier-Sylvan Hills game, the baseball quarterfinals will resume Saturday under Friday’s original schedule. Those gams are: Magnolia vs. Farmington, 12:30 p.m.; Greene County Tech vs. Little Rock Christian, 3 p.m. and Vilonia vs. White Hall, 5:30 p.m.
In suspended baseball games from Thursday, Farmington defeated Batesville, 9-0, and White Hall downed Pulaski Academy, 5-2.
Friday morning, Sylvan Hills scored in the bottom of the seventh to take 4-3 victory over Magnolia in a suspended softball game to determine Greenbrier’s opponent Saturday evening.
Saturday’s softball schedule is set according to Friday’s original times: DeQueen vs. Paragould, 12:30 p.m.; Valley View vs. Alma, 3 p.m.; and Greenbrier vs. Sylvan Hills, 5:30 p.m.
Against host Sylvan Hills, the Panthers took batting practice, scoring six runs on five hits the first inning and never letting up before the mandatory lightning delay (a recorded strike in an eight-mile radius).
The Panthers had just taken an 11-1 lead after starting pitcher Cayden Wallace, a ninth-grader, hit a two run home run that put Greenbrier in a commanding position.
The mercy rule takes effect if a team leads by 15 after three innings or by 10 after five.
About a quarter mile up a hill from the baseball facility, Vilonia’s game against Beebe, which started 30 minutes late because of the completion of the earlier suspended game, was halted with the Lady Eagles up 4-1 in the sixth.
Officials allowed the game to be completed because Vilonia couldn’t play Saturday morning because of graduation.
The 6-1 victory was Vilonia’s third straight this season over the Lady Badgers.
"We were very aggressive early scoring four runs in the first, then their pitcher started throwing change-ups early in the count and it shut us down," said Vilonia coach Kevin Sullivan. "But we played very good defense behind our pitchers."
Again, Vilonia used a pitch-by-committee approach with Tori Wilbanks, Skylar Lee and Paige Kelley rotating every two or three innings.
"Our pitchers don’t have much experience and I think it’s too much to expect them to go out and give us seven innings," Sullivan said. "And the players have done a good job giving us what we need. And the other team’s lineup is probably seeing a different pitcher every time around."