Alma got a "good split" from Vilonia in 5A-West softball on Tuesday.

Vilonia scored seven runs in the top of the first inning of the opener and cruised to an 11-3 win. But Alma fought back to take the nightcap 2-0 behind a strong pitching performance from Aubrey Bailey and some outstanding defensive plays.

Alma (13-6, 7-3) kept right up at the top of conference play with Vilonia (16-3, 7-1).

"We didn’t look very good in that first game, and you don’t really know how its going to go. But then we came back out and played lights out in the second game," Alma coach Charla Parrish said. "That is kind of how it has been all year. I’d like to see us play more like we did in the second game. Vilonia is as good as anyone in the state in 5A and we were right with them when we played our best. That was a huge win for us."

Alma scored a run in the second inning and added another in the sixth to take a 2-0 lead into the final inning in the nightcap. But Vilonia had a runner on with nobody out and cracked a line drive into the gap in left-center for what looked like a sure double at least.

Alma center fielder Cierra Rainwater raced over and made a diving catch to snag the ball. Rainwater tossed the ball to a teammate from the ground, who bobbled it, apparently confusing the Vilonia baserunner and coaches, who sent their runner on to second. Alma threw the ball to first where the Vilonia runner was called out for not tagging up after the catch.

"I guess they thought she didn’t catch it, but it was a clean catch all the way," Parrish said. "That was an unbelievable catch by Cierra. But we had several great defensive plays all night, we had them a second, shortstop and first, all on hard-hit balls."

Bailey also pitched her second straight shutout in conference play.

Kayla Criswell had an RBI single to drove home a courtesy runner for Brook Sevenstar, who had singled, in the second for a 1-0 lead for Alma. Brooke Sevenstar hit a triple and her run scored on another hit from Kayla Criswell for an insurance run in the sixth.

Alma is scheduled to play a nonconference game at Northside on Thursday.


Game One

Vilonia 11, Alma 3

Vilonia 710 111 — 11 17 1

Alma 020 000 1 — 3 6 2

Thomason, Wader (1) and Gray; Vinson and B.Sevenstar. W - Thomason. L - Vinson.

Game Two

Alma 2, Vilonia 0

Vilonia 000 000 0 — 0 5 1

Alma 010 001 x — 2 6 0

Wader and Gray; Bailey and B. Sevenstar. W - Bailey. L - Wader.