BOONEVILLE, Ark. — The Booneville Lady Cats are off to the softball state title game for the first time since 2004.
“We’ve been able to grow closer and be more like a family, and since its been 19 years, it definitely means a lot to our town,” said Lexi Franklin, Booneville junior pitcher.
Franklin has helped lead the way, both in the circle and at the plate.
The junior has a 14-12 record in the circle this season, posting a 1.83 ERA with 226 strikeouts.
“She’s one of the best pitchers in the state,” said Boonville head coach Chad Simpson.
At the dish, Franklin is batting a whopping .441 with 39 RBI and 33 runs scored. She's tallied 21 extra-base hits, including five home runs in the Lady Cats '23 campaign.
“It means a lot when I’m able to strike someone out and then come back and help my team with a good hit," Franklin said.
That’s what she’s done all season, and it continued in the state tournament this past week.
Franklin allowed only two runs over three games, tossing two shutouts and coming through with timely hits to help lead Booneville to the 3A state championship game next weekend against Atkins.
“She’s not scared,” Simpson said. “The moments we had the last two days, those don’t scare her. I feel like it almost makes her want to push even harder.”
Adding fuel to the fire, was the fact Booneville had lost twice to Hackett this season before finally beating them 5-0 in Saturday’s semifinal.
“We definitely didn’t want to lose three times,” Franklin said. “We were like, we’ve got to get this done. No messing around, just play our game and have fun.”
Franklin has had plenty of fun this season, setting Booneville career records for strikeouts (689) and home runs (12).
But more than the records, the Pitt State commit.. is committed to bringing home a state championship next week.
“Booneville, come out and support, and let’s go get this done.”
Booneville and Atkins will face off in the 3A state title game in Conway on Saturday at 10 a.m.