COLUMN: Mind-boggling state record set by Little Rock (Arkansas) Central featured over 60 combined runs scored

Records are meant to be broken, sometimes they just take some extra time to accomplish.

That was the case on Tuesday night when Little Rock Central and Jonesboro’s softball teams combined to score an eye-popping 63 runs as Central ran away with the 40-23 football-esk score while battling nasty weather conditions.

The 40 runs by the Lady Tigers surpassed Western Yell County’s state record of 35 that was set in 2016 for runs scored in a single game. I initially received information that Central’s run total was 41, but tom-ay-toe, tom-ah-toe, it is still a new record regardless.

The box score was about as loaded as you would expect, but, surprisingly, there were only four combined errors – three by Jonesboro, one by Central – and only six total hits as the Lady Tigers edged the Lady Hurricane 6-2 in that category.

The muddy conditions made it difficult in the circle for the pitchers to throw in and, obviously, made it nearly impossible to field a clean ball. Overall, it was just tough in general. Between three pitchers, two for Jonesboro and one for Central, there were 25 batters that were hit by a pitch and 41 walks.

But wait, there is much more.

All of those runs were scored within the first three innings….the only catch is the game itself took about two and a half hours to complete due to the aforementioned bad weather. All in all, from the first lightening strike between 3:30 and 4 p.m. to the game coming to an end, everything took between four and five hours to finish, depending on who you ask.

Naturally, once I posted this multiple people reached out and as I continued to gather more information I made a call to my buddy Robert Tucker, ‘Rob T’ as we have always called him, who coaches Central’s team. I think Rob was feeling what likely most in the game were, at least if you wear Tiger black and gold – happy to get the win and get into the state record book, but thankful it was finally over mainly due to the conditions that were borderline dangerous.

Central shares a “home” field with Parkview at now-defunct J.A. Fair High School’s field, but if a scheduling conflict arises one will play at Little Rock Southwest’s field, which was where this contest was played.

Following about a 30-minute delay prior to first pitch, the game finally got underway a little after 4 p.m. The visiting Lady Hurricane popped off 10 runs in the top of the first inning, but with two outs another delay hit.

Rob mentioned that was a perfect opportunity to get the squad fired up while they had some time to wind down. They were told to chip away at the lead, and boy did they do so.

Central quickly recorded the final out on one pitch when the teams returned to the field around 5:30 p.m. and when they got their chance to bat the Lady Tigers attacked. They responded with 23 runs of their own, Jonesboro followed that up with nine in the second, but Central answered with another 17 in the bottom of the frame. The Lady Hurricane scored four more in the third, but were not able to come close to matching the Lady Tigers from there.

While the weather did play a key factor in many of the contest’s frustrations, this was a battle between programs that have struggled. Both are essentially guaranteed to slide into the state tournament, but Jonesboro (1-12, 1-7) currently sits in second-to-last place in the 6A-Central conference standings, while Central (7-6, 3-5) is right ahead of them in fifth. It is worth noting that Central has vastly improved from last season’s two-win campaign. Central also defeated Jonesboro 24-6 on March 14.

This time of year brings plenty of harsh weather conditions and that will not ever change. Anything is possible, but I have to think it is highly unlikely that we will ever see a softball game again that features 60+ runs scored and takes over four hours to finish three innings. At least I sure hope we do not.

(Cover photo submitted)