White Hall’s Lauren Graves spoiled Cinderella hopes by the Vilonia softball team both at the plate and on the mound Friday afternoon.
Graves had a single, double and a home run in leading the Lady Bulldogs to a 7-3 victory over the Lady Eagles in the 5A state championship softball game at Fayetteville’s Bogle Park. She was also the winning pitcher.
It was the third straight state title for White Hall (23-5), all three of Faulkner County teams in the championship games, twice over Vilonia and once over Greenbrier. Vilonia, the sentimental favorite because of its players’ efforts to play on for a storm-ravaged community, finished at 24-7.
Graves got the Lady Bulldogs off and running with a two-run home run in the first inning.
After the Lady Eagles tied the game at 2, White Hall began taking control in the top of the fourth. They scored two runs on three hits — one an RBI single by Graves — and a bases-loaded walk.
The Lady Eagles crept within 4-3 in fifth on a single by Sarah Montgomery, a stolen base and an RBI single by Kristen Wade.
The Lady Bulldogs responded with a run in the sixth on a double by Graves and a triple by Sierra Linker.
Emily Law helped give White Hall a cushion in the seventh with a leadoff double that led to two more runs, aided by three Vilonia errors.
White Hall had 12 hits off Vilonia pitchers Leah Thomason and Sydney Wader. Vilonia had seven hits and stranded 11 baserunners.