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Swarnes, Lady Airedales rout Springdale- 05/07/2021


By Kevin Taylor

Alma Schools 


Lydia Swarnes, her face partially covered with gold glitter, celebrated Senior Day with a ringing double and two runs scored Thursday as Alma took care of Springdale, 15-0, in a game that was over almost before it started.


The real drama, however, was playing her final Airedale game at home. 


A volleyball standout for Kim Weaver’s Lady Airedales, Swarnes’ second Senior Day of 2020-21 left her somewhat perplexed. 


“I’m conflicted,” she said. “It’s easier in a sense that we get to have more games. (But) also, at the same time, it’s harder because this is the end of the school year. 


“It means everything is coming to an end.”


Swarnes has had a big season in the classroom as well as the field. 


“Lydia’s swung the bat some off-and-on throughout the year,” Alma coach Charla Parrish said. “She’s done a great job playing defense whenever I’ve asked her. You’re talking about a valedictorian, AP (honor) student ... DECA.


“She’s going to be one of the two doing the graduation speech. It’s awesome to have someone like that on your team.”


It’s been awhile since the Lady Airedales packed so much first-power, too. 


Taelynn Perry raised her batting average to .543 with an RBI triple and sacrifice fly in Thursday’s victory. Her 32 RBI lead a team that includes seven players with 20 or more runs batted in. 


Jacklyn Petree retired all nine batters she faced for her sixth victory. 


Alma (20-10) scored six runs in the first and eight more in the third. Petree’s two-run triple sparked the early onslaught. 


Makinze Erwin had three hits and two RBI to raise her batting average to .386,


Abbi Smith added two hits, both doubles, and a pair of RBIs to raise her batting average to .345. 


Alma was 2-0 in the spring of 2020 when COVID-19 brought the season to an end. This season, the Lady Airedales made up for lost time.


“It’s been really exciting, especially with all the challenges we had to overcome,” Swarnes said. “It’s a great way to end the season. Hopefully we move on; we have high hopes for the state tournament.”


Alma clinched a berth in the state tournament Monday with a sweep of Greenbrier. 


“We had to double-dip Monday against Greenbrier,” Parrish said. “I’m proud of the seniors, and the underclassmen, too. It’s been an up-and-down season with the weather; you never knew what was going to happen. Greenbrier’s a great team; this is the first time in awhile they haven’t been in the state tournament.”


Alma travels to Mountain Home on May 13 to face White Hall in the first round of the state tournament. For Starnes, it means another opportunity to represent her town. 


“Wearing any Alma uniform comes with a sense of pride,” she said. “Not only are we dedicated and hard-working in every sport, but it’s the community backing us up. I’m very proud to be an Airedale.”


In all, Alma’s five seniors — Swarnes, Petree, Bailey Webb, Kelsey Shepherd and Shelbi Hesson — accounted for five hits and seven RBIs in Thursday’s victory.