Alec Ruble’s walk-off single to left field brought in pinch-hitter Alec Lewis in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift the Arkadelphia Badgers over the Fountain Lake Cobras at the Arkadelphia Youth Sports Park on Thursday afternoon.
The win puts the Badgers at 2-0 in their part of the conference play.
“t is hard for me to say games that matter and games that don’t and it is hard for our guys to understand it too,” Arkadelphia head baseball coach Brant Matros said. “We just had a conversation about Major League guys about the first or second game when they win a game like it was the World Series. They know how to play the game and played the game like it was their last and we kind of played that way today. We talked about purpose and finding a way. We had 36 guys who wanted to win this game. We had a lead off pinch hit right there. Lewis didn’t have a great day the other day and boom there is a hit of the bench and Ruble who struggled today and he found a way to get it done. We are 2-0 in our part of the conference and I don’t know, we’re going to keep playing.”
After giving up lead-off single to Fountain Lake, Badgers starting pitcher Braydon Todd struck out the next three batters he faced. In the bottom of the first, Todd belted a solo homer over the left field fence to put Arkadelphia ahead 1-0.
Fountain Lake got a runner on base by a walk in the top of the second inning, but Todd struck out the next three batters. In the bottom of the second, Josh Wallace got a hit to center field and made it to second when Turner Pentecost hit a sacrifice bunt. Two strike out ended the inning.
In the top of the third inning, Fountain Lake got a walk and a batter reach on an error, but a strike out, a fly ball to left field and fly ball to right field ended the potential scoring threat. In the bottom of the inning, Ruble walked and stole second base, but was left stranded at second.
The Cobras tied the game in the top of the fourth inning. A lead-off single and two wild pitches moved the runner to third base. With one out, two other runners walked to load the bases and with two outs, another Fountain Lake runner walked to score a run. A ground ball out to shortstop ended the top half of the inning.
Pentecost had a two-out double to right field and moved to third on a wild pitch, but was left stranded.
In the fifth inning, Fountain Lake got two infield hits, but didn’t score. In the bottom half of the fifth, River Melugin reached on an error and his courtesy runner, Ky Harrison, stole second base. A line drive to second and a fly ball to left field ended the inning.
Fountain Lake got two runners on base after Eric Groom struck out the first two batters he faced after relieving Todd in the top of the sixth inning. A walk and a base hit ended with a runner getting caught in a run-down.
Tanner Smith got a single to right-center field with one out for the only offensive output of the inning in the sixth for Arkadelphia.
With the game tied 1-1 in the top of the seventh inning, a strike out and wild pitch on the third strike put a Fountain Lake runner on first base. With one out, another Cobra runner reached on an error, but a pop up to Groom on the mound and a pop fly to Smith at first base sat down Fountain Lake.
Lewis led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a hard single to left-center field. Maddox Breashears singled to right field and Lewis moved to third base. Breashears stole second base and with one out, Ruble singled up the middle to bring in Lewis to win the game for Arkadelphia.