Eight-Run In­ning Pow­ers Tigers

PRAIRIE GROVE AD­VANCES TO DIS­TRICT CHAM­PI­ONSHIP

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - SPORTS - By Mark Humphrey

LIN­COLN — An 8-run sixth in­ning pow­ered Prairie Grove to an 11-6 win over Pea Ridge in the Dis­trict 4A-1 base­ball semi­fi­nals at Lin­coln Satur­day.

Prairie Grove roared back from a 5-3 deficit en­ter­ing the sixth in­ning to ad­vance into the dis­trict cham­pi­onship. The Black­hawks played their last two at-bats with­out third base­man Jakota Sains­bury, who was ejected for ar­gu­ing.

“That’s a Triple A rule,” said Black­hawk coach John King. “If the um­pire deems it bad enough to kick you, then you’ve got to go ahead and sit out a game. It def­i­nitely puts a kink in things. There’s some­body you’ve got to add to the mid­dle of your lineup.”

Prairie Grove scored two runs in the top of the third and Pea Ridge an­swered with three in the bot­tom half of the in­ning to take a one-run lead. Si­las Myane be­gan the fourth with a lead­off walk for the Tigers. The next bat­ter grounded out, but with Drew Cates (2-for-3, 2 RBIs, 1 run scored) bat­ting, the plate um­pire sus­tained an in­jury caus­ing a 10 minute de­lay be­fore he gamely re­turned to his post. Cates drilled a sin­gle RBI to tie the game at 3-3.

The Black­hawks again re­sponded by push­ing a pair of runs across in their half of the in­ning. Will Feem­ster started the rally with a lead­off dou­ble. Prairie Grove in­ten­tion­ally walked Sains­bury, then got Bray­den Ralph to fly out. With run­ners at the corners, Tyler Odell dou­bled into left field to bring home the go-ahead run. Hay­den Holt­grewe’s sac­ri­fice fly brought home an­other run and the Black­hawks led 5-3.

Pea Ridge starter Tate Busey got into trou­ble in the top of the sixth. Af­ter record­ing a strike out, he is­sued a walk, then in­duced a ground-out, but the Black­hawks could not seem to get the third out. Jack­son Sorters was hit by a pitch. Jadin Hig­gins bunted his way on to load the bases. Myane was hit by a pitch and a run scored. D.J. Pear­son (3-for-5, 1 RBI, 2 runs scored) sin­gled to drive in an­other run and Cates did like­wise putting Prairie Grove ahead, 6-5.

The Tigers weren’t done yet. Couper Allen (1-for-3, 3 RBIs, 1 run scored) drew a walk which scored an­other run. At that junc­ture, King pulled Busey and in­serted Lan­don Allison, but he didn’t last long. Kyle Fi­dler sin­gled and Chase Wade walked, in­creas­ing the Tiger ad­van­tage to 9-5.

Ralph then came on in re­lief sur­ren­der­ing a two-run sin­gle to Cole Vertz, which a sec­ond run awarded when Sains­bury was pe­nal­ized for block­ing a run­ner turn­ing the corner at third. Sains­bury ar­gued and was ejected.

Prairie Grove coach Chris Mile­ham cel­e­brated a num­ber of qual­ity at-bats dur­ing the 8-run in­ning.

“We didn’t help them, we didn’t chase pitches out of the zone,” Mile­ham said. “In that stretch we strung to­gether eight or nine re­ally good at-bats. That’s fun to watch.”

Allison tripled with two outs in the bot­tom of the sixth. He was re­placed by courtesy run­ner Hunter An­der­son, who scored on Feem­ster’s sin­gle, but the Black­hawks could pro­duce no more runs and lost 11-6.

Mile­ham said a loss to Pea Ridge dur­ing con­fer­ence play when the Tigers walked 13 bat­ters left a sour taste in their mouth and they were ea­ger to make up for it.

“I think we’ve just got a chip on our shoul­der,” Mile­ham said. “Hey, we’re some­body to talk about, too.”

Both teams re­turn to Lin­coln for re­gional play Thurs­day. Pea Ridge will play the No. 1 seed from the 4A-4 at 10 a.m. while Prairie Grove takes on the No. 3 seed at 12:30 p.m.

MARK HUMPHREY EN­TER­PRISE-LEADER

Prairie Grove sopho­more Kyle Fi­dler draws a ball on a check-swing. Fi­dler drew a walk to score a run in a dra­matic 8-run sixth in­ning dur­ing the Tigers 11-6 de­feat of Pea Ridge in the Dis­trict 4A-1 base­ball tour­na­ment semi­fi­nals Satur­day.

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