Carlisle’s softball team is off to a 4-3 start after a busy last week and Monday’s 15-0 loss at Pangburn.
Last week, Lonnie Roberson’s Lady Bison — just off the end of a stellar basketball season — beat Conway Christian, 17-0; Class 4A Riverview, 13-3; and Cedar Ridge, 9-6; before heading to the Southside Batesville tournament. There they lost to Pangburn, 13-8; and Class 4A Heber Springs, 8-6; before beating Highland for seventh place, 10-2.
“We dropped those two games in the tournament because of just young mistakes,” Roberson said Sunday. “We’d only had two practices together since the senior high girls got out of basketball. Other than that, we’re hitting the ball and putting it into play. We just made too many errors in those first two tournament games.”
Carlisle, which was to play host to McCrory on Tuesday, will visit Des Arc (0-1 at press time) on Thursday.
“I know they lost to Riverview, 10-9, and we run-ruled them,” Roberson said of the Lady Eagles. “We’re looking to really beat them. They’re a big conference rival.”
The Lady Bison are looking for their first state tournament appearance since 2012. Last year, they finished 10-15 overall, fourth in the 2A-3 District Tournament. They lost in the opening round of the Class 2A North Regional to Salem, 3-2 — two runs shy of advancing to the Class 2A State Tournament.
Roberson is optimistic they can improve on that record.
“I think we can make a good run,” he said Sunday. “I think we can win a lot of games. The thing is going to be just getting everything gelled together. We just need a little more time. It’s a marathon, not something we’re going to do next week. That’s going to be toward the end of the season. We just want to continue to get better. We have a lot of youth on this team. Six ninth graders are big contributors.”
Carlisle returns seniors Blakely Ellis at third base and Lauren Lea at second and has Kylie Warren back in center field after she didn’t play as a junior. Junior Heather Bowlan is back in left field; sophomore Ansley Terry will go at shortstop and lead off the batting lineup.
Freshmen Caty Parker (catcher), Shelby Jo Hancock and Bailey Crump (pitching), Gracie Brown and Reagan Mills will see a lot of playing time, Roberson said.
“Our biggest weakness right now is not having enough time on the field defensively,” Roberson said. “Our strength so far has been putting the ball in play. We are hitting the ball well and scoring a lot of runs.
“A big part of that is just getting out there and wanting to hit the ball, not watching those strikes go by. If we’re going to win, we’ve got to put the ball in play. And defense will come along as we keep playing.
“I’m excited to see how far we can go. The state tournament is our goal.”