Monday, June 24, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Lonoke pummels Relyance

Leader sports editor

The Remington Bullets AA American Legion team picked up a solid zone win Thursday at the Lonoke City Park, beating White Hall 10-4 with only nine players available for the game. Many players were out of position and it showed in the final stats, as the Bullets committed four errors, but three good pitching performances and strong hitting led to a Remington victory.

Nick Watson got the start and the win on the mound, and Lonoke coach Steve Moore said he was just about the only player in a position he was used to.

“He’s a pitcher so he’s actually stood there before,” said Moore of Watson. “I guarantee you everybody else we got out there is playing a position they don’t usually play.”

Remington jumped on the Relyance Bank team early, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning and five more in the second to take command of the game.

Leadoff hitter Shane Pepper, who played catcher in place of Madison James, started the first-inning rally with a grounder to shortstop that was scooped up and dropped.

“We let him catch three innings the other night because we knew we’d be without Madison (James),” Moore said. “Other than that, he hasn’t been back there in years. And he did a pretty good job. He’s just an athlete. He’s one of those guys who could do just about anything you asked him. He got off to a little bit of a shaky start, but he settled in and did a good job.”

Lane Moore, playing second base, doubled to left field with one out to score Pepper from first. Zack Risner singled to right field with two outs and Christian James drove both runners in with a base hit to right field.

White Hall got two back in the top of the second thanks to an error and a two-out, third-strike passed ball that kept an inning alive.

White Hall pitcher Daniel Gray reached on an error at third base with one out. Nine-hole hitter Dillon Bradshaw later doubled with two outs to put runners on second and third.

Watson then struck out leadoff hitter Aaron Johnston with a breaking ball, but it got by Pepper and Johnston reached first base before Pepper could retrieve the ball and throw him out. Dylan Quickel then singled to left field to drive in both runners and make it 3-2.

The Bullets knocked the cover off the ball in the bottom of the second, getting six base hits, including five in a row off Gray, who never left the game.

Pierce Johnson started the rally with a single to centerfield and nine-hole hitter Mikey Shinn moved him to second with a perfect sacrifice bunt down the first baseline. Starting at the top of the lineup, Lonoke got five-straight hits, including a triple to right field by Watson and a two-run home run to straightaway centerfield by cleanup hitter Guy Halbert that made it 8-2.

“Hitting the ball has never been a problem for us,” Steve Moore said. “We’ve hit the ball well all season. We’ve had some problems on defense, but not hitting.”

White Hall scored another unearned run in the top of the third, but Remington added two in the bottom of the fourth. Lane Moore was hit by a pitch and scored after back-to-back base hits by Risner and James. With runners on the corners, Cody Martin hit a sacrifice grounder that scored Risner to cap the Bullets run production.

Halbert gave up a single in his third inning of relief in the sixth, then walked the next two to load the bases with no outs. Lane Moore inherited the situation and struck out cleanup hitter Turner Sparks for the first out. B.J. Pullaman then reached and a run scored when Halbert, who usually plays centerfield, mishandled a ground ball at shortstop. Moore then struck out Daniel Sprinkle and got Gray to fly out to right field to minimize the damage.

Moore and Risner got three hits each to make up half of the Bullets’ 12 base hits. James got two hits while Pepper, Watson, Halbert and Johnson got one hit each.

Watson gave up just four hits in his three innings of work and Halbert gave up two. Moore finished with four strikeouts in his two innings.

The Bullets (8-4-1) are back in action on Tuesday in a doubleheader at Sylvan Hills.