Tuesday, July 23, 2013

SPORTS STORY >> Colts cruise to zone crown

Leader sports editor

The North Little Rock senior team only had to win one game at the Zone 3 tournament at Burns Park to take a No. 1 seed into the state tournament that begins this weekend in Mountain Home. Only four teams entered the zone tournament, and after beating Conway in the first round and awaiting the losers’ bracket to play out, Monday’s final against Russellville was rained out with the score tied 2-2 in the second inning.

The Cogswell Motors team agreed to accept the No. 2 seed at state rather than drive back to Pulaski County on Tuesday and risk spending pitching that it may need in the state tournament.

The Colts beat fourth-seeded Conway 9-1 in the first round, getting a home run by Dylan Huckaby in a four-run second inning and a strong pitching performance by Dylan Boone.

Boone struggled out of the gate, walking three batters in the first inning, but pulled it together to throw a complete-game four hitter, getting stronger as the game progressed.

Boone struck out four batters. He retired Conway in order in the third, fourth, sixth and seventh innings, striking out the side in the seventh.

The Cougars’ only run came in the fifth inning when it picked up three of their four base hits.

North Little Rock got on the board in the bottom of the first. Dustin Weigle got a leadoff single and scored on a sacrifice grounder by Alex Gosser later in the inning.

In the second inning, Jack Partlow drew a leadoff walk before Huckaby smashed a shot over the wall in left field. Landon Hearnes then reached on an E5 and scored on a double by Weigle. He then scored on a sac fly by L.J. Wallace to make the score 5-0.

After three scoreless innings, the Colts put three more on the board in the sixth. Nick Cleveland got a leadoff single and Partlow walked.

Conway almost got out of the jam by recording two-straight outs, but Will Hopkins singled down the third-baseline to score one run. Weigle then walked and Wallace hit a two-RBI single to put the Colts ahead 8-1.

North Little Rock had a great opportunity to end the game early in the seventh after loading the bases on three-straight walks to start the inning, but only managed one run. Hearnes hit a sac fly to centerfield to Cleveland and set the final margin.

Weigle and Wallace went 2 for 4 while Cleveland was 2 for 5. Partlow went 1 for 2 with a home run and three walks.

North Little opens play in the state tournament on Friday in Mountain Home.