Friday, May 12, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> ’Rabbits roll past Apaches

Special to The Leader

The Lonoke Jack-rabbit baseball team advanced to the second round of the 4A state baseball tournament with a 5-1 victory over the Pottsville Apaches in the opening game on Thursday morning. Lonoke is the host team and also the number three seed from the East with a record of 21-12.

Pottsville was also a number three seed, but from the North and ended their season with a record of 25-7.

“They came out and played like we’ve practiced all year,” Lonoke coach Chris Foor commented. “They ran the bases, had timely hitting, and strong pitching. We had some very timely hits. Keith Lingo, Haven Hunter, big timely hits. Then Casey (Martin) stepped up and delivered the knockout blow there at the end.”

The Apaches were the first to score in the top of the second inning. Will Stewart drew a base on balls, and Cole Duvall dropped a base hit into short right field that got by the fielder and scored Stewart for the 1-0 advantage.

Lonoke answered in the bottom of the frame to tie. Keith Lingo singled to left and moved to second on a balk. Christian Cooper got the ball to drop into short center field for a hit. Kameron Cole bunted to advance the runners, but got an infield hit as no Apache covered first base. Casey Martin came up with the bases loaded and hit a ground ball to the shortstop who chose the force out at third allowing the trying run to cross the plate.

The Jackrabbits picked up another in the bottom of the third. Haven Hunter led off with a base hit to left and moved to second on a fielding error. He then tagged and went to third on a long fly out. Tallon Swint got a slow infield hit down the first base line, bringing in Hunter for the 2-1 lead.

After a scoreless fourth, Lonoke again picked up a single run in the fifth frame. Pitcher Kade Stuart started the inning with a ground rule double to center. Julian Medina entered as his courtesy runner and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Swint. A double to deep left by Lingo scored him and the lead was 3-1. Brayden Knox came in to run for Lingo and was thrown out at the plate attempting to score on a base hit by Caleb Horton.

Pottsville threatened in the sixth. Kyle Hudson walked and Greyson Stevens followed with a double deep down the left field line. Hudson was cut down at the plate on the throw by shortstop Martin and the tag by catcher Daniel DeViney. Martin then moved to the mound to take over the pitching duties for Lonoke in relief of Stewart and got a strikeout and ground out to end the inning.

The Jackrabbits sealed the deal in the bottom of the inning on a two-run home run by Martin to set the final score of 5-1.

The Apaches got a base hit to start the seventh, but a double play by the Lonoke infield cleared the bases and a strikeout ended the game.

Lingo had three hits for Lonoke. Swint, Cooper, and Cole each had two.