Division I - Player of the Year - MARIAH HAMILTON
POSITION Third baseman
NOTABLE A four-year starter and an all-state performer who hit .523 and 23 of her 45 hits were for extra bases (11 doubles, 3 triple, 10 home runs). … Drove in 55 runs and scored 42 more for the Class 5A state runnerup. … Had at least one hit and drove in at least one run in 28 of Greenwood’s 31 games. … Had a home run and drove in season-high six runs in a 21-1 rout of Russellville during the second game of a March 26 doubleheader. In the first game, she had three hits and drove in five runs. … Had a personal goal of hitting a home run out of Alma’s softball field because it’s one of the largest in the area, and she hit two during a doubleheader that day. … In the last game of her high school career, she had a pair of doubles in the Class 5A state championship game against Sheridan. … Has signed a national letter of intent with Arkansas Tech.
DID YOU KNOW Hamilton decided to join Greenwood’s bowling team as a fun sport and a stress reliever this year. She said it started getting serious enough about the sport to the point she bought a bowling ball and shoes, and she earned all-conference status.
QUOTABLE “I felt like I had a pretty strong season, especially on the offensive side, because of the countless hours I put in before and during the season. I felt I had to carry more leadership because not only was it my final year of high school ball, but I wanted to leave a legacy for the other players to look up to and follow.
“I followed a new workout program this season because I felt like I needed to lift weights more, especially with college coming up soon. I think it made me a little stronger, and I continued to do the same drills that I did when I was growing up. It just paid off more this year because I wanted it a lot more.”
Newcomer of the Year - EMILY PERRY
POSITION Second baseman
NOTABLE Finished the season with a .410 batting average with 8 home runs and 42 RBI, good for second on the team. … More than two-thirds of her 34 hits went for extra bases. She led the Lady Tigers with 14 doubles, and she had one triple. … Also finished third on the team with hits and runs scored (34). … Drove in a season-high five runs during a victory over Springdale on April 4. … Hit a home run and drove in four during Bentonville’s rout of North Little Rock in the Class 6A state tournament semifinals. … Had a bases-loaded double that briefly gave the Lady Tigers the lead during the Class 6A championship game against Cabot.
DID YOU KNOW Perry attended a small Catholic school before she transferred to Bentonville before her freshman year, so she was not well known when she joined the softball team that spring.
QUOTABLE “The offseason was very competitive, and all my teammates were battling for spots. I started as the DP, but I had to fight for that position, too. Once I earned my way into the lineup, I wanted to do more and contribute more. Once (Bentonville coach Kent Early) tried me at second base, I did fine and I wanted to make him proud.
“I think the state championship was definitely the signature spot of my season. I’m going to remember that forever. I went up to bat with the bases loaded and two out. That was really a pressure situation, but coach Early has prepared us for these moments during our practices.”
Coach of the Year - ANTHONY CANTRELL
SCHOOL Bentonville West
NOTABLE Led the Lady Wolverines to a 23-4 record overall and a 6A-West Conference championship in the team’s third season. … West’s victories included a regular-season sweep of Class 6A runnerup Bentonville and wins over Class 6A state champion Cabot, Class 5A state runnerup Greenwood and Class 4A state runnerup Farmington. … After a 3-2 loss at home against Rogers High, the Lady Wolverines won their next 11 league games and clinched the conference title with a 5-3 win over Bentonville. West then reached the state tournament semifinals before the season ended with a loss to Cabot.
DID YOU KNOW Cantrell admits he is “deathly afraid” of opossums and “other varmints.”
QUOTABLE “We knew we had a chance to be pretty good this year, but you never know when you have Bentonville and Rogers in the same league. Overall, we had a great year. That’s a tribute to my kids and their desire to be good. They’re a great group of kids, and we do things a little bit differently than what other people do. The biggest thing is I want those kids to be good and have fun being good.
“We came up short of where we could’ve been, but that’s part of it. In that state semifinal game, I still don’t think we played bad. We just didn’t play well enough to win. We had a few things that didn’t go for us. We had 10 hits in the game, but they weren’t strung together.”
All-NWADG Division I Softball Team
|Cailey Cochran||Bentonville||Sr.||All-State pitcher went 15-3 with a 1.27 ERA and 192 K in 115.2 innings; hit .405 with 5 HR, 19 RBI.|
|Madi Conklin||Fort Smith Southside||So.||All-State catcher hit .539 with 16 doubles, 4 triples, 3 home runs, 43 RBI, 40 runs scored.|
|Morgan Nelson||Bentonville||Sr.||All-State third baseman hit .452 with 11 doubles, 2 triples, 10 home runs, 49 RBI, 41 runs scored.|
|Angela Price||Greenwood||Jr.||All-State second baseman hit .442 with 14 doubles, 6 triples, 4 home runs, 30 RBI, 53 runs scored.|
|Ryen Rassi||Bentonville West||So.||All-State catcher hit .378 with 4 doubles, 11 home runs, 42 RBI, 13 runs scored.|
|Courtney Storey||Rogers High||Sr.||All-State shortstop/second baseman hit .562 with 12 doubles, 2 triples, 27 RBI, 21 runs scored.|
|Ally Sockey||Greenwood||Jr.||All-State shortstop hit .461 with 5 doubles, 3 triples, 2 home runs, 27 RBI, 40 runs scored.|
|Hallie Wacaser||Bentonville West||Jr.||All-State shortstop hit .481 with 6 doubles, 4 triples, 12 home runs, 41 RBI, 43 runs scored.|
|Jenna Wildeman||Bentonville||Sr.||All-State outfielder hit .469 with 4 doubles, 5 triples, 18 RBI, 46 runs scored as the Lady Tigers’ leadoff hitter and stole 31 bases.|
|Emma Wood||Bentonville West||Sr.||All-State pitcher had a 12-3 record with a 2.34 ERA and 68 K in 92.2 innings.|
Division II - Player of the Year - ALYSSA REED
THE SCOOP Reed was a four-year starter at catcher for the Cardinals and led the program to back-to-back state championship game appearances. … As a senior, she batted .532 with 50 hits, 7 home runs, 41 RBIs, 8 doubles and just 3 strikeouts in 107 plate appearances. … Reed helped the Cardinals to a perfect 10-0 mark in the 4A-1 Conference and 25-3 overall mark before falling to Pottsville in the Class 4A state championship game. … Over her four-year career, Reed helped Farmington to a 94-27 record. … Named to the all-state team and will be a member of the Arkansas High School Coaches Association West All-Star team later this month at UCA in Conway. … Has attended Farmington schools almost her entire 12 years except for one semester at neighboring Prairie Grove in the second grade.
DID YOU KNOW Reed is certainly capable of playing at the collegiate level, but will be focusing her attention on earning a degree in nursing at the University of Central Arkansas starting in the fall.
QUOTABLE “When I was like nine or so, I asked my dad if I could play softball year-round because I loved it so much. I just loved being able to hit a ball as hard as I could.
“I’m going to miss my teammates. It’s been so awesome to play with my friends. I’m going to especially miss the overnight trips and staying in the hotel together. That was always just the best part for me.”
— Chip Souza • @NWAChip
Newcomer of the Year - GRACE BOATRIGHT
THE SCOOP Stepped into the starting lineup and the clean-up spot for the Cardinals as a designated hitter. … Belted a walk-off three-run home run on the first pitch to lead the Cardinals to a 5-4 win against Brookland in the Class 4A state semifinals with two outs. … Emerged as one of the brightest young players in the area by batting .387 with 36 hits, 11 home runs, 38 RBIs, 31 runs scored, 3 stolen bases. … Will move to catcher next season as four-year starter Alyssa Reed has graduated. … Plays catcher for the Vision 16U Gold team in the summer and will travel to tournaments in Colorado, South Carolina and Tennessee as well as other regional tournaments.
DID YOU KNOW Boatright plays the trumpet in the Farmington High School band. Boatright, who moved to Farmington from Siloam Springs when she was in the fifth grade, said she chose to play the trumpet because her best friend also played the trumpet.
QUOTABLE “I was a little nervous at first, but I just told myself to calm down and do your thing. When I was able to calm myself down, I was confident. I wasn’t looking to swing at the first pitch. I was trying to be patient, but it looked good so I swung.
“I was wanting to be in that position. It was funny because I actually was talking to my dad before the game and we talked about coming to bat with the game on the line. I really wanted it to happen and it did.”
— Chip Souza • @NWAChip
Coach of the Year - DAVID HARRISON
THE SCOOP Harrison took over the Elkins softball team after the third game of the season and led the program to a 16-5 record and state tournament appearance. … The Elks advanced to the finals of the 3A-1 Regional and lost a 1-0 game to eventual state champion Rose Bud. … Prior to coming to Elkins, Harrison previously coached at Mountainburg and in the Van Buren schools for a number of years, primarily coaching basketball. … He coached softball just briefly prior to this one, starting the fast-pitch program at Mountainburg in 2000. … Elkins won the 3A-1 West Conference tournament and its 1-0 loss to Rose Bud was the closest game the eventual state champs had in their title run. … This was Elkins’ best season since 2016 when the Elks went 15-8.
DID YOU KNOW This was Harrison’s first and only season as the softball coach at Elkins. He announced his retirement at the end of the season after 28 years as a teacher and coach.
QUOTABLE “We didn’t start off all that well, but as the season went on, the girls started to come together. We were able to put together an 11-game winning streak and you could see their confidence really start to climb.
“I waited until my last season as a coach to have my greatest success, but the kids and the community are the real success story here. Any award I get, it’s because of the girls buying in and deciding they wanted to be successful.”
— Chip Souza • @NWAChip
All-NWADG Division II Softball Team
|McKenzi Bogan||Farmington||Jr.||Was 21-3 with 2.38 ERA and 97 strikeouts; Also batted .295 with 12 RBIs|
|Aidan Dayberry||Pea Ridge||So.||Batted .436 with 15 runs scored, 15 RBIs; Won 13 games with 1.30 ERA and 101 strikeouts|
|Bailey Elmore||Gravette||Jr.||Was 10-5 with 2.02 ERA and 120 strikeouts; Had 3 home runs and 20 RBIs as hitter.|
|Jadyn Hart||Paris||So.||Batted .500 with 48 hits, 27 RBIs, 39 runs scored, 6 home runs; Was 13-2 with 0.994 ERA, 239 strikeouts as pitcher.|
|Sophia Hollingsworth||Elkins||Sr.||Batted .538 with 35 hits, 31 RBIs, 9 doubles, 6 triples, 4 home runs; 6-2 with 2.66 ERA and 72 strikeouts as a pitcher.|
|Cally Kildow||Gravette||Jr.||Returned from serious injury to bat .467 with 25 RBIs; Had 80 strikeouts as a pitcher.|
|Gabbi Scott||Gravette||Jr.||Batted .489 with 44 stolen bases, 40 runs scored. Had two games with 5 stolen bases.|
|Kally Stout||Farmington||Jr.||Batted .448 with 10 home runs, 10 doubles, 44 RBIs, 39 runs scored, 43 hits.|
|Sydney Ward||Paris||Sr.||Batted .563 with 6 home runs, 43 RBIs, 49 hits, 14 doubles; 15-4 with 212 strikeouts, 0.480 ERA as a pitcher.|
|Blakelee Winn||Pea Ridge||So.||Batted .518 with 24 runs scored, 27 stolen bases, 16 RBIs; 13-7, 7-1 in 4A-1 Conference.|