Ruff Neks Fastpitch Softball: Welcome

-------------------------RUFF NEKS FASTPITCH SOFTBALL CLUB: THE PRIDE OF TRADITION ------------------------

The Ruff Neks Fastpitch Softball Club's original travel-team graduated from 18U to bigger and better things such as college ball, college, work, etc. The next group of 1992 girls completed their eligibility in the Summer of 2010. The team was primarily from the local area, but also had players from the surrounding communities and from as far away as Gillett. The first team had players from far-off places, too, with some coming from Harrison and Pine Bluff, to as far away as Wichita Falls, TX and Montgomery, AL. The club has always been based in Cabot and has been a member of the Foothills Fastpitch Association until moving to tournament-only play.   The second team was formed in the Fall of 2002.   Most of those Ruff Neks, while very good players, had never played fastpitch before.   So the early seasons were great learning experiences for them, and they developed nicely!!   The original players, and those that have joined us since, have moved forward to learn new and more advanced skills. The focus of our fastpitch program has always been to assist young players to prepare for high school ball, and to help high school players who wish to advance to the collegiate level in the sport. We have been successful at this through hard work, advanced training, clinics and strong competition in tournament play.   The players on these first two teams all became high school starters and have developed experience, knowledge and skills that enhance their high school play and will contribute to their appeal to college recruiters!!   Fastpitch in Arkansas has come on strong over the past several years and we are all working hard to be competitive at the regional and national levels.   We feel we are truly helping our girls to accomplish their goals, and had our first player sign with a college team in 2001.   Shannon Rainbolt was part of the first small group of our players to reach college age.   A much larger group was in the high school class of '02 and nine of them went on to play college ball, as well.   Those players are; Bailey Baker with North Arkansas College, Balencia Young and Tammy Phillips with Mississippi Valley St., Nicole Henderson with U.A.-Monticello, Brendon Ward with Arkansas Tech, Jaila Kirtly with Central Baptist College, Megan Miller with Evangle College and Dana Marvin & Brooke Grice at the Univ. of the Ozarks.   Balencia's younger sister, Courtney then joined the ranks of our college signees as she went off to Howard University in Washington D.C.       Our next group of HS seniors (2010): Kendall Calderon, Tara Boyd and Katie Collier made decisions and signed with Haskell Indian Univ., Williams Baptist and Central Baptist College respectively.   Pete Reed and Chelsea Conrade then signed their letters of intent to continue their carreers with Ouachita Baptist Univ. and Lyon College.   Former Ruff Neks playing college ball now number 37! We can all be very proud of these, and all of our girls' accomplishments!   The tradition and pride continues as the latest group of Ruff Neks (1999 birthdays)was assembled to form a new 10U team in the Fall of 2009.   KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK and GO RUFF NEKS!!!!

Tuesday, August 13
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 14U RUFF NEKS HOLDING OPEN TRYOUTS - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Ruff Neks have several openings to fill on our roster for the fall and into spring 2014 and seasons to come.  1999 birthdays are preferred, but strong 2000's will definitely be considered and all positions are open, with particular needs at pitcher and catcher.  If you are interested or know someone who is, contact Tim Marvin at (501) 412-5588 to arrange a tryout or for further information.

School Barn Fundraiser

Friday, June 10
------------------------------------ ! ! ! ! 2011 12U SUMMER SEASON ! ! ! ! ----------------------------------------------

Friday, September 2
**************************** RUFF 7TH OF 36 IN SEAA WORLD SERIES *********************************

Our girls finished in a tie for 7th in a field of 36 teams in the SEAA WORLD SERIES held over the July 18-24 week in Pigeon Forge, TN.  It was a really fun time and a great experience for the many world series to come, since most of our girls had not been to one before.  Pool play began with a matchup with one of the event favorites in TN TEAM WORTH.  We played well to win in the first extra inning by a 2-1 score.  Pool play continued with a 3-1 victory over GA FORCE ELITE '99, earning the top seed from our pool.  Then bracket play started with a matchup with the IN CLOVERS.  It was 2-2 after the 2nd before the 'NEKS erupted for 10 runs over the next 3 innings to win 12-2.  GA FORCE ELITE '98 came next and, unfortunately we had our "Bad News Bears" game, commiting 5 errors and dropping the game 7-1. We dropped into the losers bracket to face the KY SPARKS and regain our form in a 4-3 win.  Then came wins over GA FORCE ELITE '99, 4-1, and TN STRIKEFORCE, 9-0.  There weren't many teams left at this point; only the best!!  TN GIBBS KNOCKOUTS from Knoxville was our next opponent and it was a great matchup!  The game was a 2-0 affair when the rain came and suspended play at 10 PM.  We resumed at 8:30 the next morning and just couldn't get the fire lit, to drop the game 3-0. We were disappointed and tired, but everyone had to be pleased with the week's performance.  To finish 7th in a 12U Class A world series as 11yr olds is quite an accomplishment.  Seems to indicate next year might be even better ! ! !  

Friday, July 29
---------------------------------- RUFF NEKS 4TH IN USSSA C STATE ------------------------------------------------

The July 2-3 USSSA C State Tournament was a little different, with teams adding players from last week's A State to their rosters.   Seems quite inappropriate, but it was allowed when questioned.   Things started well with wins over POWER UP 3-0 and INTIMIDATORS 8-2, although Hannah was injured when she was hit on the throwing hand with a foul-tip and couldn't continue (x-rays later revealed it was broken).   Later that night, we dropped a 6-5, last-inning decision to WILD THANGS to drop into the loser's bracket.   Our Girls got by the DIRT DOLLS 3-1 Sunday morning only to fall to The BANDITS and finish in fourth place.   All in all, not a bad weekend, but some things just don't sit too well;  Certainly not in the best interests of Arkansas softball !

Tuesday, June 28
----------------------------- RUFF NEKS ARE 2011 USFA CLASS C STATE CHAMPS -----------------------------

The RUFF NEK girls really battled to take the USFA State Championship over the June 25-26 weekend at Burns Park in North Little Rock.   We weren't at our best, but the effort and heart our girls displayed was impressive !   The RUFF NEKS CURSE was in place as our first game was at 8:00 AM against Batesville's KRUSH.   After taking them down 13-4, our next game wasn't until 7:15 PM ! ! !   After the long delay, our girls eased by PINK DYNAMITE 5-3 to finish the day's play and continue into Sunday to the winners' bracket final.   Sunday began with an extra-inning affair that exploded into an 11-7 win over NEA FUSION to move us into the championship.   FUSION came back up to face our girls in the finals only to be beaten again, this time by a 5-3 score....... and the RUFF NEKS girls became the 2011 USFA-C 12U STATE CHAMPS ! ! !      

Tuesday, June 28
------------------ RUFF NEKS BACK HOME AND STILL IN THE WINNERS' CIRCLE ----------------------

We were supposed to be in Batesville, MS, but due to a shortage of teams we had to scramble around and managed to get in the SHERIDAN SHOOTOUT over the June 18 weekend.   The games were really spread over the day beginning with a 10-0 win over MAUMELLE DIAMONDS 99 at 1:00 PM and then dropping AR ASSAULT 11-1 to bring on a SIX HOUR wait for the finals ! ! !   Finally at 12:40 AM, the final began and then ended 10-4 with the RUFF NEKS in charge over ASSAULT again.   These late night/early mornings have become a regular thing lately.   But, if that's what it takes, we'll take it ! !

Tuesday, June 28
----------------------------------------- RUFF NEKS WIN IN LIBERAL, MO ----------------------------------------------

Our RUFF NEKS went undefeated through pool and bracket play in Liberal, Missouri to win the NO WHINING tournament over the June 10 weekend.   Pool play consisted of wins over MO ATTACK 7-0 and KS AMERICAN FAMILY by a 5-0 score.   As the overall no. 1 seed, the RUFF NEKS faced the BASHERS of Lamar, MO and advanced to the championship with a 16-0 win.   The finals brought on the AFTERSHOCK from Oswego, KS which our girls put away anticlimatically 15-0 to take the championship trophy on the five hour trip home.  

Monday, June 27
------------------------- RUFF NEKS DO WELL IN TENN VS GOOD TEAMS AND THE HEAT --------------------------

The weekend of June 4-5 was an example of contrasting play as the RUFF NEKS first trip out of state started badly, but heated up as the temperatures did and ended with our girls taking home the top trophy in the wee hours of Sunday morning.   A 11-0 pool-play loss to TN ILLUSIONS started things badly followed by a win by the same score over TN HEART BREAKERS.   Our weak pool play gave us the no. 6 seed in the bracket and started us against the 3 seed, MS EXTREME.   Our girls began to play like RUFF NEKS and dropped XTREME and no. 2 seed TN RAGE by 3-1 and 4-3 scores to advance to the winners' bracket final to face MS ILLUSIONS again.   This time was entirely different with a hard fought 1-0 result sending ILLUSIONS to the losers' bracket and give the 'NEKS a well deserved break.   When ILLUSIONS came back for the finals, it took our girls a bit to regain their playing form as we lost the first game 9-3 to force the "IF" game.   The championship game began at 1:15 AM and was full of drama and quality play.   Then, with the score tied 0-0 in the 4th inning, the field abruptly became totally dark.   It was 2:00 AM and the lighting timer had automatically shut everything off, leaving everyone in turmoil ! !   After discussion, and by mutual agreement, the winner was decided by the flip of a coin............and the RUFF NEKS won ! ! !   While it would have been far better to settle the issue on the field, there was little question our girls were taking control of the game and would have prevailed if it had been completed.   A lesson learned: The results of one game don't determine the outcome of the next one. 

Monday, June 27
------------------------------- RUFF NEKS INCONSISTANT AT WALLY HALL TOC ----------------------------

The May 28-29 weekend was a classic example of inconsistancy for our girls in the Wally Hall TOC in Benton's Tyndall Park.   Things began with a shakey 4-4 tie with the        <strong>LADY BACKS</strong> and a 9-1 thumping of <strong>DIRT DEVILS</strong> in pool play.   Bracket play started well with a  9-0 win over <strong>DIAMOND STORM</strong>, then got ugly with a 9-0 loss to <strong>MAUMELLE DIAMONDS</strong> <strong>98</strong>.   We came back Sunday morning to drop a close, but poorly played losers' bracket game to <strong>LADY BACKS</strong> by a score of 7-6.   Not a good weekend for the Ruff Neks, but we will be back!!

Monday, June 27
---------------------------------------- RUFF NEKS WIN AT TYNDALL PARK ----------------------------------------

Our girls came through the losers' bracket, forced the "IF" game and won the tournment at Tyndall Park in Benton over the May 14-15 weekend.   The day started well with victories over <strong>OUTLAWS</strong> and <strong>THUNDER '98</strong>, 3-2 and 3-1, before dropping a 4-1 decision to <strong>ZERO TOLERANCE</strong> to drop into the losers' bracket.   The 'NEKS got by <strong>DIRT DEVILS</strong> 4-2 to reach the finals around midnight.   Our girls dispatched <strong>ZERO</strong> <strong>TOLERANCE</strong> 7-2 and 5-2 to complete the championship around 2:30 Sunday morning!   A very long day with a well earned result!!!  

Wednesday, June 15
------------------------------ RUFF NEKS TAKE FIRST AGAIN IN TRUMANN --------------------------------

The wind was strong and unrelenting ! but the girls hung in there to finish out the "IF" game and bring home the trophy at Trumann over the April 9 weekend.   The 'NEKS thumped DIAMOND DOLLS GREEN and DELTA THUNDER by identical 15-0 scores and then took FUSION by a surprising 13-2 margin in the winners' bracket final.   After a long wait, FUSION caught us off-guard, 5-4, to set up the "IF" game.   FUSION took the early lead, but our girls rallied late to put the championship away 7-5.

Wednesday, June 15
------------------------------- RUFF NEKS TAKE FIRST AT LANDMARK ---------------------------------------

The RUFF NEKS took advantage of the beautiful weather over the April 2nd weekend to finish first at Landmark Park.   Our girls beat FREAKZ 4-3, got payback over RED HOT ROOKIES 9-1 and finished off with a 9-1 win over STORM to take home the championship.

Friday, June 10
--------------------------------- RUFF NEKS OFF THEIR GAME AT BRYANT ------------------------------------

Oh, what a difference a week makes!!!   The 'Neks play at Bryant during the March 12 weekend was a far cry from their performance of the previous week's level of play.   We dropped the first game to the Red Hot Rookies 10-8 in a mistake-filled effort.   Then managed to get by Kozin Kaos 4-0 before going down to Southern Shock 2-1 due to the obvious lack of offensive firepower.   We were all disappointed with the outcome, but we are growing and better things are in front of us as we become a "team". 

Friday, June 10
----------------------------RUFF NEKS TAKE FIRST IN OPENING OUTING OF 2011-----------------------

On a COLD day in Sheridan, the Ruff Neks took home the Championship trophy to get off to a good start for the 2011 season over the March 5th weekend.   Our girls beat Southern Attitude 9-0, Lady Backs   10-3, D.O.T. 2-1 and completed the day by taking D.O.T. again in the finals 1-0.   We were all freezing by the end of the day, but the result was an indication of things to come.

Wednesday, June 30
___________________________ ! ! ! - 2010 SUMMER SEASON ! ! ! - ___________________________________________

************************** A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS *************************

The Ruff Neks organization thanks all our supporters.   This special THANK YOU goes to the people and businesses who have made donations to our program to help make all this possible!!!

                      2009       SEASON

      Walter's Auto Sales               Pinnacle Structures, Inc.
         PO Box 515                         PO Box 1268
          Cabot, AR                           Cabot, AR

      Brockinton Auto Sales               The Buffalo Agency
       812 South Second St.               122 North First St.
          Cabot, AR                           Cabot, AR

       Randy'S Auto Sales                Cabot Tire & Off Road
       710 West Main St.                   285 Arena Road
          Cabot, AR                           Cabot, AR

       Wal-Mart Foundation
         Bentonville, AR

                      2010       SEASON

      Addington Transportation             Tri-State Mack
         Elizabethtown, KY                Little Rock, AR
          (270) 268-6456                      490-1122

         Walters Auto Sales             Brockinton Auto Sales
             PO Box 515                   812 So. Second St.
             Cabot, AR                         Cabot, AR

         Allstate Insurance                  Will Feland
          1715 tp White Dr                   PO Box 46
          Jacksonville, AR                   Cabot, AR

Thanks to these companies and to all who have given with large contributions of their time and effort!!!   Without your help, these young ladies would not have the opportunity to compete at such a high level in this wonderfully healthy activity.

Thursday, July 15
*************************** RUFF NEKS WIN THREE CHEERLEADERS TOURNEY*****************************

The Ruff Neks took first place in the Three Cheerleaders Tourney in Sherwood over the July 9-11 weekend.   Actually they took home TWO first place trophies for the weekend's work!   Both the 10U and the 18U went undefeated in their divisions while playing together in the same tournament for the first time this season.   And it was really cool to see the groups interact as they went to each other's dugouts to cheer and support their "sisters in softball" throughout the tournament.   This was truely what a softball club is all about ! ! !  

Tuesday, June 29
*******************************SECOND PLACE AT ASA CLASS A STATE********************************

An ugly start ended with a nice finish for the Ruff Neks at ASA Class A State over the June 25-26 weekend at Pine Bluff Regional Park.  The first game was far below the level of play the girls had displayed recently and sent them to the loser's bracket way too soon.  And Saturday didn't start with much enthusiasm either, but the girls managed to get it going as play continued.  They played five games and wound up with second place to surprise some folks along the way.

Tuesday, June 29
*************************THIRD PLACE IN THE MT. DEW CLASSIC****************************************

The Mt. Dew Classic over the June 18-20 weekend was a large and successful affair and the Ruff Neks made a good showing to take home the third place trophy Sunday afternoon.  The temperature was HOT and the umpires COLD, but that's the way this game is sometimes.   A good showing against good competition, some of which were last-day additions to a team's roster.  Sometimes trophies get in the way of fair thinking.

Tuesday, June 29
*************************RUFF NEKS SECOND IN ASA DISTRICT TOURN********************************

The Ruff Neks finished second in the ASA District tournament over the June 11-12 weekend.  Our old nemesis, Magic was the only team standing in our way and they managed to block the way to the championship.  The competition between the two teams was fierce on the field, but there is mutual respect before and afterward....and that's the way it should be.   Best of luck to both teams in the battles to come! 

Friday, June 11
***********************************RUFF NEKS FIRST AT JACKSONVILLE********************************

The Ruff Neks went undefeated to take first place at Jacksonville over the June 4-6 weekend.  It came down to the Ruff Neks and Magic again and our girls prevailed without allowing a run.  The games from here on will only get tougher and the 'Neks appear to be climbing in their level of play!

Friday, June 11
****************************************NOT GOOD IN SHERWOOD***************************************

There were only a few teams there, but they were good!!  Against quality competition, errors will kill you and, unfortunately, errors were commonplace for the'Neks at Sherwood over the May 28-29 weekend.  We took down Thunder Black and then dropped games to Pink, Thunder Blue and Thunder Black, all of which were one run affairs except against Pink.  And it was UG-LY!!   Not to worry, we'll get back on track for the games to come.

Friday, June 11
************************************RUFF NEKS UNDEFEATED AT BRYANT******************************

The Ruff Neks went 5-0 to take 1st place at Bryant over the May 21-23 weekend.  Our girls were only pushed once, 1-0 by Primetime in the process of taking home the top trophy. And Taylor earned the MVP award for her time on the mound. Now..............if we can only get everyone out of school.....................

Friday, June 11
***********************************RUFF NEKS RUSTY AT BENTON************************************

The Ruff Neks were rusty at the postponed Big Boom Classic after the four-week lay-off.  They started off the May 7-9 weekend with a win and then mixed in some less-than-stellar performances against some good teams to finish in the middle of the pack.  There are always opportunities for some good lessons-learned if we take the experience and move forward.

Wednesday, April 28
-----------------------------------------------------AND THE RAINS CAME------------------------------------------------

The rain and storms came through central Arkansas and rained out the April 24 tournament scheduled at Cabot and we sat at home - bored and wanting to play! !    What can you do?   That's just the way it is sometimes in the spring.   We'll just have to work around it, although, I should have called a short-notice practice for Sunday 'cause it was beautiful and we do need the work!   Oh well, there are many more to come so, on to the next weekend tournament.

Thursday, April 15
*****************************RUFF NEKS WIN WHITE RIVER SPRING FLING****************************

It went to the "IF" game and 2:30 in the morning, but the Ruff Neks brought home their first tournament championship of the 2010 season in Batesville April 10/11.   The girls swept through the winners' bracket with wins over Hot Shots, Magic and Pink Dynamite    16-0, 8-2 and 7-1 respectively.   Then came a FIVE HOUR wait for the losers' bracket to play out and the first championship game to start at 11:30 !   Our girls were cold and wound down from the long wait and Pink Dynamite was fresh off a win and looking for revenge, and they got it as the 'Neks went down 4-1.  We got ourselves together and both teams played well in the final, with the Ruff Neks coming out on top 4-3 in the hard-fought contest to take top honors and head home in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

Friday, April 9
---------------------------------RUFF NEKS AGAIN 2ND PLACE IN MAUMELLE------------------------------

The 10U girls were 2nd place again over the April 3 weekend in Maumelle.  Magic supplied both losses the 'Neks suffered in a much drawn-out, all day tournament extended due to an overnight rain storm.

Wednesday, March 24
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^10U's BEGIN 2010 WITH 2ND PLACE AT BRYANT^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

The 10U Ruff Neks began their 2010 campaign with a second place finish at the Bryant Pre-Season Classic over the March 19-20 weekend.  The weather started out beautifully Friday evening as the 'Neks took a 10-0 win over Rampage.  Early Saturday afternoon wasn't bad, although is was cloudy and cooler, and the girls took a 6-3 win over Triple Threat to advance to the championship series.  By the time Triple Threat worked their way back to the finals, the weather had turned cold, windy and the rain was starting to come down.  The "neks started slow and never picked up any momentum and dropped the first game 5-1 to bring on the "If-game".  The last game was WILD, going three International-Tie-Breaker innings before Triple Threat was able to get the edge and set the Ruff Neks down 11-10.  Hate to get double-dipped, but if you play this game, you will be on both ends of that more than once!!  We accomplished what we set out to get done, so now on to getting to the top of our game!!  GOOD JOB GIRLS ! ! ! ! ! 

Friday, January 25

Wednesday, August 6

There were lots of long faces and a few tears, but third place in a Class A World Series is a finish to be proud of ! ! !   It was a good showing against quality opponents in a classy environment!   We'll take a break now to relax and re-focus and pick up with a less stressful fall season.   With many of the girls soon starting high school volleyball and basketball, we will choose our participation this fall with exposure and competition as the main focus.

Friday, June 20

The Ruff Neks didn't win the tournament, but played well to take second against more solid competition in the Mt. Dew Classic over the June 13-15 weekend.   Wins over Top Gun and Outlaws were followed by a loss to Breeze on Saturday.   And we just got thumped by Breeze as they slammed two triples and two dingers in the first inning alone to set the tone for the 7-3 final score.   Then came wins over the Collierville Dragons and Outlaws, 6-2 and 6-3.   We then faced Breeze in the finals of the losers' bracket and returned the favor 6-1 to set up the championship game against Dynasty.   Several back to back games had taken their toll and we dropped the game by the score of 3-2 to finish second place.   Again, a solid performance against good competition !

Friday, June 20

The Ruff Neks marched through the June 7-8 tournament undefeated, allowing only 2 runs while scoring 39 in the six games they played.  Really a good performance against solid competition.   And, unlike our last experience in Tunica, the umpires were good and no one was ejected !   Fortunately, this tournament was run by an entirely different group than two years ago.  

Friday, June 20

The Ruff Neks played all day long in the USFA 18U tournament held at Benton's Tyndall Park on Saturday, May 31.   The largest winning margin in their six games was TWO RUNS ! ! !   Great games all day and the 'Neks came home tired, but carrying the third place trophy.


Thursday, June 7

After two weekends of hum-drum play, the Ruff Neks finally gave us a peak at their capability at the Paragould Tournament of Champions over the June 1-2 weekend.   Saturday began with a run-rule win over a local team, the All State Angels. After being spotted a five run lead in the first inning, Erin pitched well and never allowed any threats.   The 'Neks cruised from there to a 15-0 win.   Then came the Collierville, TN Dragons which Kendall and the crew dispatched 8-0 in five innings. Next up were the Sluggers of Poplar Bluff, MO who, despite a decent lefty on the mound, went down 7-0 behind Erin's solid performance.   The Sluggers came out of the losers' bracket only to be greeted by Kendall and our defense putting a perfect game on them!!   Not a single Sluggers player reached base in the 'Neks 13-0 championship win!!   The girls showed a glimpse of what they are capable of.   What a dramatic turnaround from the past two weekends with EVERYONE contributing to the team's success. We'll be in Springdale this weekend to try to keep the "train moving and improving".

Monday, July 23

Coach Bill (Kendall's Dad) returned to the team for the July 14-15 Southern Heat Classic in Marion and so did the competitive fire the Ruff Neks have been known for over the years.   He had been in the hospital in St. Louis with scary health issues since the Paragould tourney (the majority of the season, really) and the girls had just not been themselves during that time.   The Southern Heat Classic, except for the Ruff Neks, could have been called the "Tennesse West" Classic, since the 'Neks were the only team NOT from our neighbors to the east.   Our girls proved to be up to the task and marched through undefeated to take first place in the two-day affair.   After working through some difficulty finding the ball park due to several sets of bogus directions, the 'Neks disposed of the Arlington Cats 6-1 at 10:30 AM and the Bolton Wildcats 12-1 at 2:30 PM in pool play.   In the first bracket game, the 'Neks again set down the Bolton team, this time by the score of 2-0 to set up a game with the Germantown Red Devils, a team the 'Neks have some history with.   The Red Devils were no match for our girls who played well and took the semi-final 8-1.   In the winners' bracket final at 2:15 Sunday afternoon, the Collierville Dragons played well, but succomed to our girls by a 4-0 score that the 'Neks really dominated more than the score would indicate.   The championship game was again against the Dragons and our team was not to be denied!   The 8-0 final score could have been worse as the 'Neks scored when they wanted to and stymied every Dragon offensive opportunity.   Coach Tim had set the "word for the day" as "DOMINATE" and the girls rose to the call!!   This will be our final outing of the 2007 Summer season.   We'll take our usual time off and then resume play for the Fall with our first step into the 16-U division.   It's a major step, but the Ruff Neks bunch is up to the challenge, no doubt!!!!!



Wednesday, October 18

The Ruff Neks dropped an early game to the Wildcats and then worked their way back to win the annual CabotFest tournament held Saturday, Oct 14.   In their first game of the day, the 'Neks met an overmatched Madness team and came away with a 3-inning 14-0 win.   Next up was old foe Wildcats who caught our girls napping in the 4th inning and, with the benefit of SIX errors, put up six unearned runs to take a 6-3 lead which became the final score.   The Razorbabes were lying in wait and pushed the 'Neks to the last inning as time expired before succumbing to our girls 3-2.   Back against the Wildcats in the finals, the 'Neks took the first game convincingly 5-1.   The "IF" game was a little more exciting, as the 'Neks took a 3-0 lead into the last inning with the clock running low.   The Wildcats lead-off batter stroked a triple to right, followed by a strike-out and a run-scoring infield groundout to put the score at 3-1 with 50 seconds left.   The 'Cats were home team and, as any good coach would do, theirs attempted to extend the game into another inning to give them one last chance at the victory.   He instructed the batter to step on the plate and hit the ball.   Hannah, I think recognized what was happening and threw the pitch high out of the strike zone so contact couldn't be made.   We called time and changed pitchers to kill the rest of the clock.   Then Kendall got the last batter to fly out to center, giving the 'Neks the win and first place in the tournament.   We were a little rusty and the 40 degree temperatures in the last two games didn't help but, all in all, it was a good outing.

Wednesday, October 18

The Ruff Neks went down to Pine Bluff to play the high school girls over the Sept 23rd weekend and came away with a win and a tie due to the "drop dead" time limit in place in the fall.   In the first game against White Hall HS, Kendall and the girls completely shut down the opponents to win by a 5-0 score in a game that was really more one-sided than the score would indicate.   In the second game of the doubleheader, we struggled with a "Bad News Bears" inning in which we allowed 4 un-earned runs to trail 4-2.   Then, just before the time limit "dropped dead", the 'Neks pushed two runs across to tie the game at 4 apiece.   And there it ended, with neither team getting an opportunity to settle the issue.   The Drop-Dead time does keep the games moving, but I have never liked tie ball games!


Tuesday, August 1
------------------------RUFF NEKS SHINE IN 2006 SEAA CLASS "A" WORLD SERIES------------------------------

The Ruff Neks truly stepped up to the challenge in the SEAA World Series held in Sevierville and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee July 24 through 30.   Unlike the world series that teams from Arkansas typically go to, this was a Class A world series with the top teams assembled from eight states from the east and southeastern part of the country.   There simply were no weak teams in the mix.   In the 100 or so games in pool and bracket play, there were no more than six where the run-rule came into effect.   The state champions were present from Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, Ohio, Virginia and South Carolina.    In pool play, the 'Neks went to the international tie breaker to ease past the Chattanooga Blast 1-0 and, after a "Bad News Bears" inning, dropped a 7-1 decision to Fear Factor (ask Coach Kenny about "the team in pink").   Bracket play began with a run-rule win over Knoxville Xtreme, 8-0 and continued with victories over the state champions from Mississippi, Georgia and South Carolina along the way.   In the semi-finals of the winners' bracket, the Ruff Neks dropped a close one to the Alabama state champs and eventual tournament winner, North AL Rockets by the score of 2-1.   Next up came the Diamond Devils, a Nashville, TN all-star team the 'Neks sent home by the same 2-1 score.   The Ruff Neks then dropped their final game 1-0 in the battle for third place to the Knoxville Blaze.   We were all disappointed with the loss, but no one could feel anything but pleased with the way our girls competed against the class A field.   The girls faced very difficult times early in the season, fought through it and peaked at the right time to represent themselves and the state of Arkansas well.   Another reason to be a proud Ruff Nek!!

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Monday, July 3

Monday, June 26

We coaches often talk about the quality of the umpiring, and not always in the most endearing of terms!   But, in this case, it is difficult to give a picture of just how poor the officiating truly was.   Inconsistency on balls & strikes, misinterpretation of the rules, the inability to see out vs safe, "rabbit-ears" and just down-right carrying a grudge.....we saw it all right there in Tunica, MS!!!   We started Saturday morning with an error-filled first inning against the Germantown, TN Red Devils that immediately took us out of the game that we eventually dropped 10-4.   The girls came back to put away the Southaven Xplosion 9-3 to get back on track and finish up pool play.   Oddly, our first bracket game was again against Xplosion and the girls disposed of the Southaven group by the score of 10-0.   Next up were the Diamond Girls from close by Tunica.   The 'Neks jumped on them early and advanced to the winners' bracket final with a 7-2 victory.   The Mississippi Delta Diamonds were next, and they are a salty bunch, indeed!   The strike zone had shrunk to the size of a pie plate and the Diamonds are a good group of hitters.   The result was a hard-fought 6-0 loss and the losers' bracket.   There we met the Red Devils again, only this time we played THEM well...we just couldn't beat the umps, too.   Multiple bad calls and five ejections later, we decided the abuse had gone on long enough and removed our girls from the field with the Red Devils leading 3-1.   The opposing coach apologized, the tournament director apologized, the tournament UIC apologized...but, if everyone felt so bad about the behavior of the umps, why didn't those in charge simply address the problem?   All did not end badly though, as the girls faced adversity that day and pulled together as a team.   We are headed in the right direction and picking up steam!

Monday, June 26
---------------------RUFF NEKS WIN DISTRICT IN RAIN-SHORTENED AFFAIR------------------

The Ruff Neks took the ASA District 3 Championship at rain-soaked Sherwood Sports Complex over the June 16th weekend.   It started with an 8-0 run-rule win over Rosebud Friday night at 7 PM.   Things continued Saturday morning with a 13-3, 4 inning win against the Maumelle Diamonds and their big lefty pitcher.   Storm made our girls work some to secure what would prove to be their final game of the rain-shortened tournament by the score of 5-1.   As the 'Neks waited for the others to determine the opponent in the finals, the rains just got heavier and heavier until the TD called the affair.   Perhaps not the strongest of fields, and certainly not the way we'd like to win a tournament, but we didn't lose and everyone else did.   So we earned what we got.....the District Championship for the second year in a row and the treasured "booty patch"!

Wednesday, May 17
****************RUFF NEKS TAKE BRYANT BLOWOUT CHAMPIONSHIP****************

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The Ruff Neks took home the championship in the BRYANT BLOWOUT tournament over the May 12 weekend.   The girls met little resistance Friday night in a 14-1 win over the Shockers to kick things off.   At 11:00 Saturday morning, the going was much tougher against Thunder, but the game went in the "W" column with a 4-3 final score.   Next came the Razorbabes, a pretty solid team from the local area.   The result was a 6-3 win to send the 'Neks into the tournament finals.   As expected, the Razorbabes returned to meet our girls in the 9:45PM championship matchup.   The game was well-played until the last inning when the 'Neks got a little sloppy with their 3-0 lead and allowed 3 unearned runs to tie the score.   In their half of the inning, the Razorbabes returned the favor with 2 "gimme's" of their own to set the final at 5-3 in the Ruff Neks' favor.   The tournament was good for our team, as they seemed to come together some from the first game to the last.   Keep up the progress girls, just one step at a time!!

Wednesday, May 17



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The Ruff Neks beat Southern Tag 8-2 in the championship game to complete their undefeated, 8-0 sweep to the World Series title on Saturday July 23.   Our girls beat the Fireballs 18-0, the Lady Mixers 3-2, the Outlaws 9-3 and Lady Mixers again 3-0 to finish pool play undefeated.   After getting a bye in the first round of bracket play, the 'Neks drew the Lady Mixers again and really put a thumping on them this time to the tune of 17-0.   Next came the Burners who went down 8-1 and then the Outlaws, who the 'Neks dispatched nonchalantly 9-2 to set up the final against long-time rival Southern Tag.   The two teams had locked horns often during the season, with 'Tag coming out on top the majority of the time.   The Ruff Neks girls would have no part of that this time, though.   The 'Neks played classic fastpitch strategy to score a run in each of the first two innings while shutting out the 'Tag offense.   The Ruff Neks erupted for four runs in the bottom of the third to push their lead to a formidable 6-0.   'Tag tried to stage a come-back as they picked up a run in the top of the 4th and another in the 5th to make the score 6-2.   The 'Neks slammed the door on that, as they answered with two runs of their own in the bottom of the frame to go ahead 8-2.   'Tag went down from there with little fanfare in either of the last two innings.   And the celebration was on!!   WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS.....sounds good!!   Feels good, too!!   


The Ruff Neks started playing Sunday at 9:30AM and finally left the ball park at 6:45PM after playing five games back-to-back to work their way through the losers' bracket to a second place finish in the USSSA State Tournament held over the July 1-3 weekend in Russellville.   It started Saturday morning with a 15-0 win over the Lightning Byrds at 8:00AM (that start time is getting to be a little too common for the 'Neks lately).   Next came the NWA Crush, who took advantage of four errors to score 6 runs and then held on to win 6-4 and send the 'Neks to the losers' bracket.   Late Saturday night, the Sugar Bears showed up and went down 7-1 to set the Ruff Neks up for their Sunday run at the championship.   First up Sunday was Thunderbolts who went home after the 5-0 loss.   Next came Blast '93, and their whining didn't help as they went home after a 10-0 loss.   The Jammers beat the Crush in order to be the next Ruff Nek opponent, only to meet a similar demise by a 6-5 margin.   The Wildcats lost to Southern Tag in the winners' bracket final and dropped down to face the 'Neks in the losers' bracket final.   The 'Neks sent them packing with a 5-1 loss to set up the championship games with Southern Tag.   To that point in the tournament, 'Tag had played a total of three games and our girls had played a total of seven, four already that day!   So, fatigue should have been a factor, but you wouldn't have thought it was by the way the girls battled.   The 'Neks went up 1-0 in the first inning. 'Tag tied it in the third and went ahead 2-1 in the fourth.   The 'Neks tied the score at 2-2 in the fifth inning, only to have 'Tag win it on a pretty squeeze bunt after time had expired in the bottom of the sixth.   A heartbreaker to lose, but an exciting and very well-played game by both teams.   This was truly a classic example of quality fastpitch softball!!   Too bad one team had to lose......   But, the Ruff Neks proved their mettle and are a better team for their gutsy performance in a difficult situation.


The Ruff Neks took the 2005 12U ASA State Championship in dramatic fashion over the July 8-10 weekend after being taken to the "IF" game by Purple Magic.   After dropping the first game of the finals to Purple Magic by a 5-2 score, the tension was thick and the pressure heavy.   But the 'Neks responded with a convincing 4-0 win to secure the State title.   Our girls opened the tourney with a 16-0 thumping of the Lightning Byrds and followed that with a thrashing of the Heroes by the same 16-0 score.   Next up in the winners' bracket was Purple Magic of Hot Springs, who the 'Neks set down 3-1.   While Purple Magic went about working their way through the losers' bracket, the Ruff Neks proceeded to finish off the winners' bracket with an 8-1 victory over the Hot Shots from Fordyce.   In the first game of the finals, the 'Neks were a little complacent and not at their best while the 'Magic were on their game and played well.   Helped by some sloppy defensive play, 'Magic jumped to an early lead and held on for the 5-2 win.   Somewhere between the final games, the 'Neks got their groove back and controlled the championship game from the outset.   And, at about 5:30PM, the celebration was on....   Way to go girls!!!   Now on to the IBSA and NFSA World Series affairs !!!


05 ASA 12U District Champs
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The Ruff Neks won the ASA District 3 Championship held at Cabot over the June 17-19 weekend.   It went to the "IF" game and took 4 1/2 hours for TWO games on Sunday, but they got it done.   The 'Neks started at 8:30 AM Saturday with a 10-0 win over the Lady Mustangs and beat the 12 yr old Blast 10-1 at 4:15 PM.   Next came the 11yr old Blast, who went down by the same 10-1 margin at 9:15 Saturday night.    The two games Sunday were also against the 11 yr old Blast and were painfully slow due to the delay tactics and incessant whining.   The Blast took the lead in the first with four runs in the first inning on 4 hits, while the 'Neks kicked in two errors defensively.   They shut Blast down the remainder of regulation while chipping away at the lead with 1 run in the second inning, another in the third and two in the fourth.   Neither team managed to score in the first inning of international tie-breaker play.   The 'Neks couldn't get anything going in the top of the last either and Blast scored the winner on a wild pitch to bring on the "if" game.   Blast jumped ahead again in the first inning of the final, scoring two runs on a hit, two walks, a hit batter and an error.   The Ruff Neks answered with two of their own on three hits and an infield out to tie the game.   The score remained tied at two through seemingly endless delays and whining until the 5th inning when the 'Neks pushed across the winner on two singles wrapped around a stolen base, only seconds before time expired.   Probably the least enjoyable afternoon spent playing softball in memory, but a District Championship is GREAT!!   


The Ruff Neks little 12 year olds strutted their stuff with the 16 year olds in the USSSA Cabot Invitational Tournament held over the June 6th weekend.   When the 12U and the 14U divisions didn't make, there was little option but to play with the 16U division.   Having been playing 14U in league probably helped with the intimidation factor, but in any case, the 'Neks simply "played the game" as they would otherwise and represented themselves well.   The Dixie Dynamite was the first opponent Friday night and the 'Neks disposed of them 7-3.   The first game Saturday morning was against the Shockers who were dropped 5-1.   In the third game, the 'Neks led the Vipers 6-0 in the 4th when the "bad news bears inning" jumped up and slapped the 12 year olds down.   Before the inning was over, the Vipers led 9-6 and the game ended with that score.   The Outlaws went down 10-2 before Firestone, a pretty good 16U team, dropped the 'Neks from the losers' bracket by a 5-1 score.   The dreaded "bad news bears" inning was disappointing but, other than that, the 'Neks stood tall against the older competition with the 4th place finish.


The Ruff Neks finished 3rd in the 18-team NFSA qualifier tournament at Bartlett, Tennessee over the Memorial Day weekend. In pool play, after wins over the Germantown Red Devils 5-0, Lady Wild Cats of Mississippi 10-0 and Xtreme of Mississippi 17-2, the Southhaven Illusion came from 2 runs down to knock off our Ruff Neks 5-4 in the bottom of the last inning. No one felt good about the loss, but our girls played fairly well and Illusion deserves some credit for coming through in a very difficult situation.   As the 2nd seed from their pool, the 'Neks faced another Arkansas team, Delta Breeze, in the first round of single-elimination bracket competition.   After cruising to a comfortable 9-2 lead, the girls relaxed in the last inning and Delta Breeze got on a tear!   Before we knew it, the score was 9-7 with only one out and the winning run was at bat.   Bailey picked the runner off third and threw out a runner attempting to steal third to end the threat and the game.   The next game against Stars and Strikes Sunday at 1:00 pm was an unexpected blowout, as the 'Neks scored 4 in the first inning and 11 in the second to end the game on the mercy rule.   Advancing to the semi-final, the 'Neks came up against Spirit from Jackson, TN.   Unfortunately, the softball gods chose to smile broadly on Spirit and ignore the Ruff Neks.   Spirit had 7 hits, none of which reached the outfielders and there was just nothing we could do about it.   The Spirit pitcher was good, in fact the best we've seen this year, and the 'Neks (other than Makenzi tearing the 3rd baseman's leg off in the first inning) were able to do very little with her.   Spirit scored 7 runs in the fourth and that was the final score.   So the Ruff Neks took third place losing only to Class A teams Illusion and Spirit.   We now know we can run with the big dogs!


The Ruff Neks finished 2nd, but a little disappointed in the first leg of the USSSA Triple Diamond series at Cabot over the May 13-14 weekend.   The Ruff Neks opened against the Wildcats Saturday morning at 9:00 and walked away with a 7-5 victory.   Then at 12:30, they jumped on the White County Terminators 15-5 to advance to the winners' bracket final at 3:30 against Southern Tag.   In one of their better efforts thus far, the 'Neks took it to 'Tag 7-1 and then waited for 8:00 and the winner of the losers' bracket.   Not surprisingly, it was a re-match with 'Tag.   While pitching in the second inning with the game tied at 1, Emily went down with what many feared was a re-injury of her surgically repaired knee.   Their concentration broken, the 'Neks dropped the game 4-1, bringing on the "if game" at 9:30.   Some baserunning mistakes and defensive errors contributed to a 6-3 loss and the second place finish.   'Tag played better and deserved to win, but there was an "up side" for the 'Neks too, as they continue to improve their skills and develop into single cohesive unit.   


The Ruff Neks showed a glimpse of their capability at Jacksonville's Early Bird tournament over the April 29-May 1 weekend.   They won easily over the Knockouts 16-0 Friday night.   In the first game Saturday morning, they faced a somewhat arrogant Kaos team and dropped the group from Wynne, 9-2.   This was the team whose coaches were standing by the bracket and counting the games necessary to get to Southern Tag.   They passed right over the Ruff Neks and paid dearly for their oversight!   After waiting all day until 7:30 that night, the 'Neks finally got to play their next game against 'Tag.   Although they played a better game than at previous times, the result was a 4-1 loss.   The first losers' bracket game wasn't until 10 AM Sunday, again against Kaos.   Kaos was ready this time and it was a thriller.   The 'Neks had to come from behind, and then win in the first extra-inning, 2-1.   Then came Purple Magic which the 'Neks handled with little difficulty, 7-1.   A solid Delta Breeze team followed, and the 'Neks again came from behind after spotting them a 4-0 lead due to several errors.   The final was 7-6 in a back and forth affair.   Then the Finals against 'Tag.   The 'Neks were ready and shut them out 4-0 in maybe their best game thus far this season, to force the "If Game".   At that point, after four back-to-back games and six hours on the field, the tank was empty, and with nothing left 'Tag eventually had their way, 8-0.   A great weekend, an exciting performance and a glimpse of greater things to come.   Stay tuned....



Our Ruff Neks won the ASA Southwestern Six Regional Championship held at the Sherwood Athletic Complex over the weekend. It went to the "If" game before being decided, but the Ruff Neks prevailed 4-1 over long-time rival, the Screamers. College coaches were in attendance to see teams from Oklahoma and Mississippi along with those from Arkansas compete for the title. Up next is the USSSA World Series next week in Shawnee, Kansas. This will be the final challenge of 2002 for these "girls of summer".


The Ruff Neks finished with a record of 7-2 and took 5th place in the 34-team USSSA 18U World Series held in the heat (102 to 104 degrees every day) at Shawnee (Kansas City), Kansas, July 29 through August 4. Many at the national championship tournament didn't expect much from a team from Arkansas, but the Ruff Neks played well and beat the state champions from Kansas and Nebraska along the way. Fifth isn't first, but there were 29 other teams that would be glad to be in the Ruff Neks' shoes. A solid finish to a very good season!!


Monkey SEE*Monkey DO *

We have new pictures added to the Album for 2001. updated 6/29/01
You Ruff Nek monkeys check it out.

2000 ASA 16U Southwest Regional Champions ! !

The Ruff Neks came out of the losers' bracket to Win the Whole Thing!!!!!!
Front: Julie Coats, Mary Smith, Dana Marvin, Chelsey Warmack, Mary Webb(behind Megan), Megan Miller. Standing: Stephanie Bradley, Jodi Sanson, Bailey Baker, Anna Kate Milburn, Lindsey Vance, Shannon Rainbolt. Coaches: Tim Marvin, Ed Baker, Dan Payne.