Spellings lives out col­lege dream, signs with OBU

The Sentinel-Record - - SPORTS - ZACH PARKER

Go­ing from hum­ble be­gin­nings to a state cham­pi­onship con­tender in just five sea­sons, Lake­side’s wrestling pro­gram has staked its claim as one of the best in Arkansas.

Se­nior Jud­son Spellings gave the Rams an­other ac­com­plish­ment on Mon­day, be­com­ing the first Lake­side wrestler to sign a na­tional let­ter of in­tent when he inked a com­mit­ment with Oua­chita Bap­tist Uni­ver­sity.

“This is just a step­ping stone,” Spellings said. “When I first started wrestling, it was the sec­ond year that we had the pro­gram, and we were not do­ing that well at state. We climbed up the lad­der, and this year we got sec­ond (in Class 1A-5A), and we had four guys in the state cham­pi­onship match.

“It’s not go­ing to be just me. I was lucky enough and blessed to be the first, but there’s go­ing to be more.”

The Tigers fol­lowed the se­ries win with two wins over sec­ond-place Arkansas Tech (33-12, 24-9) in games held at Cen­tral Arkansas in Con­way to im­prove to 9-4. They were 6-18 in their next 24 games be­fore the week­end tilt against North­west­ern.

It was the first time this decade Oua­chita achieved a four-game shutout sweep of an op­po­nent. It was also Oua­chita’s first four-game sweep of a con­fer­ence op­po­nent since March 2013.

Se­nior cen­ter fielder Kelly Pow­ell reached base on an er­ror to be­gin the bot­tom half of the first in­ning in But­ler’s per­fect game. Se­nior first base­man Gabby Gon­za­lez later bunted Pow­ell home to put the Tigers on the board.

Se­nior left fielder Paige Pu­ri­foy helped add to the score in the bot­tom of the fourth. Her sin­gle to left field scored fresh­man right fielder Tobi Finley from sec­ond base.

Pow­ell hit a bases clear­ing dou­ble with two outs in the sixth in­ning to give But­ler a 5-0 cush­ion to start the sev­enth.

Oua­chita scored its only run of the fi­nal game of the se­ries on Sun­day in the first in­ning. Pow­ell dou­bled to right field to lead off the bot­tom half of the first. Se­nior catcher Sarah John­son drove in Pow­ell with a sin­gle to right field.

The Tigers did not score un­til the third in­ning of But­ler’s no-hit­ter in the se­ries opener on Satur­day. Se­nior short­stop Madi­son Crosby opened the bot­tom half of the frame with a sin­gle to right field. Pow­ell sin­gled down the left line be­fore fresh­man Sloane Pre­cure hit an RBI sin­gle into left field.

But­ler’s per­fect game ended with an er­ror in the fourth in­ning.

Gon­za­lez hit an RBI dou­ble to cen­ter field in the sixth in­ning for the Tigers’ sec­ond run of the game. But­ler sent the Rangers down in or­der in the sev­enth to com­plete the no-hit bid.

Oua­chita’s of­fense came alive in Satur­day’s night­cap. The team fin­ished with 14 hits in the game.

Pu­ri­foy, Pre­cure and John­son all picked up RBIs in the bot­tom of the sec­ond in­ning as the Tigers pounced out to a 4-0 lead. John­son struck again in the fourth in­ning with a two-run home run into the trees be­yond the left field wall. Pow­ell picked up an­other RBI in the fifth in­ning to give Oua­chita a 7-0 lead.

The Rangers threat­ened in mul­ti­ple in­nings, but the Tigers pitch­ing staff was able to pre­vent the run­ners from scor­ing.

Oua­chita will have a short turn­around as the Tigers are sched­uled to face ri­val Hen­der­son State (26-19, 18-16) tonight in two games at Sully An­der­son Field. First pitch is sched­uled for 4 p.m.

The Sen­tinel-Record/Richard Rasmussen

TIGER TOUGH: Lake­side se­nior Jud­son Spellings, seated third from left, signs a na­tional let­ter of in­tent to wres­tle for Oua­chita Bap­tist Uni­ver­sity Mon­day at Lake­side High School. With Spellings, from left, in front are his fa­ther Ja­son Pow­ell, his brother Trace Pow­ell and his mother Keri Pow­ell, and back, from left, as­sis­tant coach Tony Bradley, as­sis­tant coach Nick Bal­lard, his grand­mother Phyl­lis Spellings, head coach H.E. Bur­chard and Lake­side High School Prin­ci­pal Darin Landry.

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