Bold predictions for the 1A-4A softball regionals

The 2024 softball season is nearing its end as teams are scrambling to finish games and dodging bad weather, while also trying to stay/get healthy and balance life tasks off of the diamond.

In the past, I have not been known to make very many predictions on games/tournaments.

Today, that changes. Below are some of my top storylines from this week’s regional tournaments, as well as how things could shake out based on the overall body of work displayed thus far.


Bauxite has earned the right to be the overall favorite in the East Regional, but the first round features some intriguing matchups that could say otherwise – that includes Conference 5 No. 4 Little Rock Christian against Conference 3’s top seed Wynne. In the South, I really like Malvern, plus I’m very interested in the Star City/Ashdown nightcap, but it’s a really competitive slate that would be tough to bet against a Monticello/Nashville final.

With only three regionals in Class 4A, that leaves the North, featuring conferences one and four, the first one you have likely heard me praise on a weekly basis as the state’s top conference in 4A. I believed it before the season and I still do. With respect to Bauxite, it is hard to convince me that the Top 4 teams in the class do not play in that league. However, win-or-go-home scenarios can be funny – and devastating. I like Pea Ridge over Clarksville, and Farmington has the edge over Mena, but when Abi Koppein is on for the Lady Bearcats they always have a chance.

Pottsville against defending state champion Gravette could end up being a slugfest, but that 10 a.m. game between Gentry and Morrilton is the one I have really tried to gauge. Morrilton finished third in the 4A-4 regular season conference standings, but got on a roll to win the district tournament. The Lady Devil Dogs have won six of their past eight contests and their season is on the line against Gentry, unquestionably this year’s most improved team regardless of classification, who must get back on track as they are currently on a six-game skid.


I say all of the time how much I love pitcher’s duels and there could be multiple brewing in the 3A-1 up north. Booneville’s Lexi Franklin (Pittsburg State signee), Hackett’s Makenzie Freeman (Tulsa commit) and Lincoln’s Brinkley Moreton (Mississippi State commit) lead their squads into what has been one of the more intense regional tournaments over the past two seasons.

The likely matchup of Lincoln and Booneville in the semifinal round will be a dog fight, but hopefully the winner will have enough juice left for the machine that has been the Hackett Lady Hornets, whom I believe will make it to the finals without much of a push. While Fouke may provide a challenge in the 3A-4 regional, DeWitt has really done some damage and looking to take that into the postseason, while the 3A-2 will likely result in another Melbourne vs. Salem matchup.

The 3A-3 features arguably the top first round contest, on paper, of any regional between Harding Academy and Lamar. That tournament also has highly-touted Atkins and Mayflower, but don’t sleep on Baptist Prep.


First off, everyone is chasing defending champion Riverside right now and I have no reason to believe they will not take the North Regional for the second consecutive season, while defending state runner-up Mansfield should handle business without any issues in the West Regional.

The South appears to be completely wide open, but the Central, that features Conferences 2 and 5, even more so. Magnet Cove and Quitman have had the hot hands for the majority of the season, but don’t forget South Side Bee Branch started the year 8-0. Central Arkansas Christian seems to have found a bit of a groove, but the squad I have my eye on in this tournament to take the next step is Mount Vernon-Enola. Jason Jobe’s Lady Warhawks have impressed and took Quitman to the wire in Saturday’s district tournament final, plus notched a solid win over 1A No. 2 Concord on Tuesday. MVE needed pitching to match the big bats in their lineup and they have found a consistent duo in sophomore Aislin Olive and freshman Rylee Goff.


While the (expected) anticipation of Bradley vs. Taylor in the 1A-4 Regional finals will demand plenty of attention, the one you will really want to follow is the 1A-2 Regional at Marked Tree. If the 1A-2 district tournament was not thrilling enough for you, this slate should be.

I believe the Conference 2 teams will sweep Conference 3 and punch their tickets to state. In Conference 2, Concord is arguably the best team in the class, while Shirley and Viola are talented and battle-tested. Four-seed West Side (Greers Ferry) may not have the record to show for it, but they have vastly improved and freshman pitcher Eden Murphree will be one to keep an eye on over the next three years.

(Cover Photo by Jimmy Jones)