Friday, April 10, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Rabs hold off Stuttgart, boys lose

Leader sports editor

The Lonoke Lady Jackrabbits overcame a 3-0 deficit to defeat Stuttgart 9-7 on Tuesday, while the baseball team outhit the Ricebirds, but still fell 5-3 for its first loss of the season.

The middle innings were the difference for the Lonoke softball team. The Lady Jackrabbits scored all nine runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings. Stuttgart scored two in the first and one in the second before Lonoke finally got on the board with two runs in the top of the third. After holding Stuttgart scoreless in the bottom of the third, Lonoke briefly took the lead with two more runs in the fourth. Stuttgart reclaimed the advantage with two runs in the bottom of the fourth, but Lonoke rallied for five runs in the top of the fourth to take control of the game.

Lonoke’s bats went quiet after that, but pitching and defense were just good enough to hold on for the victory.

The crucial fifth inning started with a pop-up to shortstop by Jarrelyn McCall, but Amanda Sexton got things rolling with a one-out single. Maddie Pool then lined a single to left field. Janae Miller reached on a fielder’s choice when she bunted down the third-base line, but the throw to get Sexton at third wasn’t in time, leaving everyone safe and the bases loaded. Candice James hit a fly ball single to left field to score Sexton and tie the game. Gracie Cole struck out for the second out, but Sidney Hallum was hit by a pitch to drive in Pool and give Lonoke the lead for good.

Charley Jo Chesney added to that advantage with a two-RBI double to the wall in left field that scored Miller and James. Jasalyn Truelove then singled to right field to score Hallum and cap the Lady Jackrabbits’ scoring.

Hallum, Truelove, McCall and Sexton all singled in the third inning to put Lonoke on the board. Miller, James and Chesney singled in the fourth inning for the Lady Rabbits’ other two runs.

Sexton went 4 for 4 to lead the Lady Jackrabbits at the plate. Chesney went the distance on the mound, giving up 12 hits and five earned runs on five strikeouts and one walk.

The Lonoke boys (7-1, 3-1) got 10 base hits to just six for Stuttgart, but the Ricebirds made the most of their opportunities, including a grand slam by Jacob Hildebrand in the bottom of the third that proved to be all the runs the home team would need. Stuttgart added another run in the fifth and Lonoke rallied for two runs in the final inning, but fell short.

Lonoke scored first in the top of the second when Christian James’ leadoff walk was followed up with singles by Savonte Rountree and Elijah Seigrist.

Haven Hunter hit a leadoff double for Lonoke in the seventh inning and scored on a single by Cody Martin. Nick Graves then walked and Kade Stuart singled two batters later to drive in Martin with one out. But Caleb Horton flew out to right field and Rountree struck out to end the game.