Friday, April 28, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Lonoke rolls at District

Leader sports editor

The Lonoke baseball team punched its ticket to the East Regional tournament next week by hammering Baptist Prep 18-1 on Tuesday in the first round of the 4A-2 District tournament at Southside-Batesville.

The third-seeded Jackrabbits followed that up with a dominant 9-0 win over two-seed Heber Springs on Thursday.

After a scoreless first inning, and an Eagle home run in the top of the second, the Jackrabbits were off and running with an eight-run second inning on Tuesday.

Tallon Swint walked around the bases after his fielder’s choice was followed by three-straight walks totie the game. Kameron Cole then hit a sacrifice grounder that scored Keith Lingo, and Lonoke never trailed again.

Leadoff hitter Casey Martin came back to the plate for a two-RBI double, and Daulton Smith drove in Martin with a single to right field.

Haven Hunter singled to put two runners on. That set up a three-run bomb to left field by Kade Stuart that put the Jackrabbits up 8-1.

Lingo started a three-run third inning with a leadoff single. Caleb Horton walked and the runners moved up on a sacrifice bunt by Christian Cooper. Cole walked to load the bases, and Martin got another two-RBI base hit for a 10-1 lead.

Cole later scored on an error to put Lonoke up by 10 runs.

Lonoke added seven more in the fourth, which again started with a Stuart single. He moved to second when his shot to left field was misplayed, and scored on a base hit by Swint. Walks to Lingo and Horton loaded the bases, and a base hit by Cooper scored Swint to make it 13-1.

With one out and the bases still loaded, Martin hit another two-RBI double. Smith walked again, but during his at-bat Will McNeil scored on a wild pitch. Haven Hunter then reached on an error at first base that allowed Martin to score for a 17-1 lead. Another error saw Chase Rogers score to set the final margin.

Baptist Prep (9-16-1) needed eight runs to keep the game from ending after the top of the fifth inning and didn’t get a base runner. Stuart took the mound and got a groundout and two Ks to put a stamp on the win.

Jeremiah Johnson’s home run accounted for the Eagles’ only run.

For Lonoke (18-10), Martin went 3 for 4 with two doubles, two runs scored and six RBIs. Stuart went 3 for 4 with a home run, two runs scored and three RBIs.

Stuart also pitched all five innings, giving up just three hits with three strikeouts and zero walks.

On Thursday, Martin took the mound and threw a complete-game two-hitter, retiring the last 11 batters in a row as the whole Lonoke lineup hit the ball.

Lonoke scored three in the first inning after Martin started by reaching on an E1. After Smith grounded out to second base, Hunter, Stuart and Swint hit consecutive singles for the 3-0 lead.

The Jackrabbits’ next productive inning also started with an error, this time off the bat of Hunter. Stuart and Swint followed with two more singles and Keith Lingo’s sacrifice fly made it 5-0.

In the fourth, Cole drew a leadoff walk, and Hunter got a two-out, RBI base hit to make it 6-0.

In the sixth, Cooper singled and Cole walked again to set up a three-run home run by Martin that set the final margin.