BENTON - The Arkadelphia Badgers got off to a promising start by getting two runners on base against the Benton Panthers, but routine errors and mental mistakes proved to be the Badgers demise in a 7-0 shut out loss at Benton on Tuesday.
“We came out in the first inning and got baserunners and bunted it right back to the pitcher,” Arkadelphia head coach Brant Matros said. “We are just not executing moving our runners, then we have a base running mistake. Runs when we have only have two hits are precious, but we ran ourselves out of the inning. Then there are the defensive errors. We gave up walks in and gave them free runs. They sprayed some hits, but nothing unusual, we just didn’t execute. We are playing some other guy stop get ready for these conference games, but they have to come up and make plays in these situations. We had a pretty decent approach at the plate, but we hit the ball right at people and nothing fell early on.”
Alec Ruble was hit by a pitch to start off the game against the 6A Panthers. Eric Groom followed with a bunt single, but bunt back to the pitcher resulted in Ruble out at third base and Groom was caught in-between second and third on a steal and thrown out. A strike out looking ended the top half of the first inning for Arkadelphia.
Benton got three base hits, but River Melugin threw out a runner at second base, while starting pitcher Drew Saunders garnered a strike out. Another Benton runner was tagged out trying to get to third base to end the inning with the score 0-0.
The Badgers went down in order in the top of the second inning with a fly ball to center field and two grounders to shortstop.
The Panthers broke the scoring ice in the second inning when two walks with two outs ended up scoring on a base hit. In the top of the third, Benton’s pitcher struck out the Badgers side.
The Panthers added another run in the bottom of the third on a walk and two singles to lead 3-0.
In the top of the fourth, Groom reached first on a bunt-single, but was out between second and third on a fielder’s choice from Braydon Todd. A fly ball to left field and a ground out to short left Todd standing on first base.
Benton added another run in the bottom of the fourth inning when a runner reached on an infield hit, stole second and with two outs, scored on an error at first base by Arkadelphia. The Panthers led 4-0.
Joe Rocole was hit by a pitching the top of the fifth inning, but was doubled-up on a fly ball to right field that was not signaled by the base umpire and confused the situation.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Benton added two more runs to lead 6-0. A lead off single, a walk and an infield single loaded the bases, but a strike out and a grounder to third gave the Badgers a chance to get out of the inning. On a routine grounder to short, the throw was dropped at the catch and both runs scored for the Panthers.
In top of the sixth, Groom walked with two outs, but a strike out left him standing at first base. Meanwhile, Benton added another run in the bottom half of the inning on a lead-off walk, a stolen base and a run-scoring single.
Turner Pentecost walked with one out in the top of the seventh inning and Ky Harrison came up with a two-out double to right-center field, but a grounder ended the game.