Softball: Boyd, Paradise prime for district – Rivals head into 9-3A with winning records

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, March 9, 2016
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In the opening weeks of the season, the Boyd Lady Yellowjackets and Paradise Lady Panthers had their ups and downs.

Boyd started the season 6-5 and Paradise 10-7-1. Entering Tuesday’s 9-3A opener against each other in Bowie, both teams were optimistic about their district prospects.

“We’ve played good overall,” said Boyd coach Brandon Hopkins. “We’re 6-5 and have played some pretty good teams. We could easily have nine wins.”

Paradise coach Karin Essig added: “We’re hitting the ball well. Predistrict is to get you ready for district. I feel we’re ready.”

Both teams are adjusting to playing behind new pitchers after graduating top hurlers from last year – Paradise’s Reagan Taylor and Boyd’s Chelsea Arlington.

Kristin Rasbury has pitched the bulk of the innings for Boyd. The sophomore is 5-5 with a 4.45 ERA, allowing 32 earned runs in 50.1 innings, with 31 strikeouts and 30 walks.

“She’s doing a good job,” Hopkins said.

Kendall Candioto and Kailey Thomas are sharing the pitching load for the Lady Panthers.

“Both of them have come through and pitched well,” Essig said.

Offensively, the Lady Yellowjackets and Lady Panthers have been potent.

Boyd senior Payton Salmon is batting .567 through 11 games. The Central Arkansas signee has six doubled and drove in eight runs and scored eight times from the leadoff spot.

“She’s a Division I player for a reason,” Hopkins said. “We have her at leadoff to get her more at bats and use her speed. The people at the bottom of the lineup are getting on base ahead of her.”

Eight of the Lady Yellowjackets’ nine regular starters are hitting better than .300.

Paradise is also getting production throughout the lineup.

Candioto has 10 extra-base hits with 12 RBIs. Brooklyn Davis has drove in 19 runs with six extra-base hits. Darla Walterscheid, who missed most of last season with a knee injury, has 12 RBIs.

“We have a lot of kids trying hard and coming through,” Essig said.

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