The Mounties bounced back from a game one loss to salvage a doubleheader split against crosstown rival Rogers Heritage on Tuesday to earn their first 7A-West win.
Rogers (5-6, 1-3 7A-West) dropped a tough 2-1 game in the opener, but jumped ahead early 4-0 and held off a late Heritage charge to win 7-4.
Rogers coach Matt Melson liked the way his team came back strong, after a tough loss in the bottom of the seventh of the first game.
“It was good to see the guys bounce back,” Melson said. “We had some good at-bats, put up a crooked number and kinda took control of that second game.”
Freshman Matthew Watson came on in the seventh with the tying run at the plate to get the final two outs.
“I was pleased with Matthew Watson,” Melson said. “He came in and kinda stabilized things.Obviously, he’s a freshman, but his stuff’s pretty good and will get better. What I like is he came in and threw strikes.”
Melson said his team failed to capitalize on a couple of scoring chances or the Mounties might have been celebrating a sweep at the end of the night.
“We gotta do a better job of the little things that baseball demands that you do,” Melson said. “We’re beating ourselves right now. We made some outs on the bases that were killer in that first game.”
Rogers is scheduled to travel to Ozark, Mo., for a nonconference game on Friday, then travel to Fayetteville for a 7A-West game on Monday.
Senior Logan Easley notched his second complete-game victory to help the War Eagles manage their second doubleheader split in 7A-West play on Tuesday.
Easley allowed one run over seven innings and gave his team a chance. Heritage took advantage to score in the bottom of the seventh for the 2-1 win. It’s second 2-1 win in conference play with the right-hander on the mound. He defeated Springdale High 2-1 before spring break.
Heritage coach Mitch Cameron said Easley, a Wichita State signee as a position player, has been strong on the mound in both his conference starts. But a key difference is the War Eagles were solid defensively, too.
“We found a way to win,” Cameron said. “When you don’t walk anybody and you play defense, you have a chance. We swung it OK, but you have to pitch and play defense or it ends up like game two.
Heritage (4-8, 2-2 7A-West) dropped a fly ball that led to three unearned runs in game two of the doubleheader, which the War Eagles dropped 7-4.
Cameron also likes the progress made by multiple freshmen. He’s currently starting three freshmen on the infield and two others are seeing playing time. He started Vance Tobol at third, Ben Pollock at shortstop and Alex Almeda at second — all freshmen.
But junior Landen Clines has made tremendous strides, Cameron said. He even started game two on the mound on Tuesday.
“He’s a guy that you look up and just don’t believe, but we believe because we’ve seen the work he’s put in,” Cameron said. “A year ago you would have thought no way, but he’s done it on the mound and he’s one of our better guys at the plate at the moment.
“Having five freshman play in the game last night be able to still come away with a split, we’re happy where we’re going.”
The War Eagles will host Neosho, Mo. in a nonconference game on Friday, then travel to Van Buren on Monday.
— Paul Boyd • @NWAPaulB
“He’s been nails every time out this year,” Har-Ber coach Ron Bradley said of sophomore starting pitcher Blake Adams following the Wildcats’ 9-2 win against Springdale High Tuesday.
The 2019 University of Arkansas commit had just one rough inning against the Red’Dogs, surrendering two runs in the fourth inning, but battled through to collect his second complete game in as many outings.
Adams picked up his fourth win of the season Tuesday, improving to 4-0. Adams’ shortest start of the season came in the season opener, where he went five and didn’t allow an earned run while striking out five. In his last three starts, he’s gone six innings and followed with a pair of complete games.
In total, the sophomore has given up just three earned runs in 25 innings and struck out 27, including nine in each of his last two starts. And for good measure, Adams leads Har-Ber with a home run and a team-best 12 RBI.
Through 10 games, Har-Ber sits at 8-2 and 3-0 in 7A-West play entering today’s game at Springdale.
Pitcher Andrew Roach and Springdale (8-6, 1-2) held down what can be an explosive Har-Ber offense through four innings Tuesday before the Wildcats strung together keys hits and the Red’Dogs committed three big errors.
Roach scattered two hits in those four innings and took Springdale into the fifth inning with a 2-0 lead behind RBI singles from Will Mueller and Ben Roberts. The game unraveled for the Red’Dogs late, but a rematch with Har-Ber comes today at Bob Lyall Field – barring weather concerns.
This season, Springdale has 14 players on its roster with at least one RBI. Roberts, though, leads the pack with 13, followed by 11 from Roach in the leadoff position. Mueller’s run-scoring single Tuesday pushed him to nine for the year, third most on the team with Tanner Sargent.
Springdale, following its second game this week with Har-Ber, hosts Huntsville Saturday at noon then begins next week with a trip to Bentonville West.
– Scottie Bordelon • @NWAScottie
Bentonville West is still in search of its first 7A-West Conference victory, but coach Chip Durham is encouraged from what he has been from his team in league play.
The Wolverines (7-5, 0-4) lost a pair of one-run games in its doubleheader against Van Buren and had the tying runs on base at one point in a 4-2 loss to Fayetteville in the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader.
“The guys that we have that have a higher ball-strike ratio, we’re right in those games,” Durham said. “If you look at the three games we were in, we had chance to tie or win those games throughout the game.
“In those games, we threw strikes. In the one we didn’t, we go run-ruled. That makes a difference because we have to throw strikes. We have to pitch backwards and create ways to have guys make contact and play good defense.”
West won’t play another 7A-West game until Monday against Springdale, but Durham is confident his team will earn some league wins before the season is over.
“I’m proud of these guys,” Durham said. “A lot of people wouldn’t put us where we are at right now, and I really believe we’re going to jump up and bite on a few people in conference play and win some.”
Bentonville played Van Buren in a doubleheader Tuesday at the Tiger Athletic Complex, but the Tigers played the first game as the visiting team.
That’s because Tuesday’s game was supposed to be played in Van Buren, but wet conditions forced the change in location.
“It’s different,” Bentonville coach Todd Abbott said. “We’ve done it before, and once you do it, it’s OK. It’s still different when you have the National Anthem, then step up to the plate to bat instead of going to the field.”
Bentonville (5-7, 2-2) rallied to claim a 3-2 victory in the first game, with Cameron Duncan’s seventh-inning single driving in Cade Lastovica with the winning run. Van Buren, however, came back and salvaged a split with a 7-0 victory in the doubleheader.
“It was big,” Abbott said. “You want to win as many conference games as you can, and they were obviously playing pretty good baseball right now. They’ve got a lot of good kids throwing strikes. For us to come away with a split is huge. It was a good first game, and a tough second game.”
— Henry Apple • @NWAHenry