Wednesday, April 29, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Jackrabbits trot to win over NPHS

Leader sports editor

A disastrous third inning turned a competitive game into a blowout Monday as the Lonoke baseball team hammered North Pulaski 11-1 at the Lonoke Ballpark.

The Jackrabbits led 3-1 going into the third inning, had two outs, two runners on base and a 0-2 count to Haven Hunter when the Falcons fell apart.

North Pulaski relief pitcher Ean Collie threw a curve ball inside with his third pitch that froze Hunter, but was called a ball. Collie, who already had two strikeouts in the inning, showed displeasure with the call, and struggled badly to find the strike zone the rest of the inning.

He walked Hunter with the next three pitches, and then walked Cody Martin in five pitches. He had already walked Casey Martin and given up a single to right field to Savonte Rountree. Cody Martin’s walk scored Rountree and left the bases loaded.

Nick Graves then hit a routine grounder to shortstop that was fielded cleanly. Zach Douglass went the short rout to second base for the third out, but Chris Penn dropped the throw, allowing Casey Martin to score and leaving the bases loaded.

Collie got Christian James in a 0-2 hole before hitting him with a pitch to score Hunter.

Lonoke pitcher Todd Pool then singled to score Cody Martin and Graves. Tyler Fuhrman also singled to score James. Rountree then walked to load the bases and Elijah Seigrist walked to scored Pool for the final run of the inning, making it 10-1.

The Falcons also let three pop-up foul balls drop over the course of the inning, two at first base and one at home plate.

In total, North Pulaski gave up three hits, five walks, committed five errors and hit one batter while giving up six unearned runs in the third inning.

Lonoke didn’t score in the fourth, but scored without an out in the bottom of the fifth to invoke the mercy rule. Rountree walked, Seigrist was hit by a pitch and Casey Martin singled to center field for the game-ending RBI.

NP starting pitcher Ramiro Urena gave up two runs in the bottom of the first as he struggled with control.

Lonoke’s Tevin Patillo hit a leadoff single before Urena hit Levi Ward and walked Cody Martin to load the bases. Patillo was thrown out trying to steal home on a wild pitch during Graves’ at-bat.

Urena fanned Graves for the second out before Christian James hit a two-RBI single that scored Ward and Cody Martin. Urena then walked Pool and hit Fuhrman to load the bases again, but struck out Rountree to get out of the second jam of the inning.

North Pulaski’s run came in the top of the third. Brandon McKinney led off and reached on an error at first base. He stole second and then scored on a single to left field by Penn.

North Pulaski pitching gave up six base hits, walked 14 and hit four batters.

Pool threw three innings, giving up one hit while striking out five and walking zero. Hunter threw the fourth inning with no hits, two strikeouts and one walk. James threw the fifth for Lonoke, giving up one hit with one strikeout and no walks.

The Jackrabbits (12-2, 7-1) wait for Stuttgart to finish conference play to find out if they’ll be the one or two seed in the district tournament that begins Thursday at Riverview. Either way, Lonoke will not play until the semifinals on Saturday.