The Sentinel-Record

Bulldogs use big third inning to down Cobras


MALVERN — Fountain Lake fans at Saturday’s 4A-South Regional consolatio­n final could give plenty of reasons why the Cobras dropped a 12-7 decision to Star City.

All that really matters is that the Cobras have a chance to play another day.

The Cobras (17-8) picked up the No. 4 seed from the 4A-South Regional and will face 4A-North 3-seed Shiloh Christian at 10 a.m. Thursday in Nashville in the Class 4A state tournament.

The Bulldogs (20-7) fell 7-5 to Arkadelphi­a in the semifinals before turning around and facing the Cobras 30 minutes later in the consolatio­n final.

Both teams looked exhausted from the opening pitch, but it was Star City that got on the board first, taking a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning before Preston Riley hit an RBI single to plate Wesley Campbell to cut the spread to 2-1.

“First game, you know, we played a very good Arkadelphi­a team,” said Star City head coach Brent Noble. “It was a struggle there in the middle innings. Had a chance to win, didn’t pull it out. Guys were a little bit down, had to talk it up, and doublehead­ers are tough, especially after a game like that. They battled back. Got back in the game, came out firing a little bit.”

It was the third inning that did the Cobras in as the Bulldogs had 12 plate appearance­s en route to a 9-1 lead.

“You know, the fatigue definitely set in, but that’s for both teams,” said Fountain Lake head coach Justin McArthur. “But I give Star City all the credit in the world because they came out and did what they had to do, and they hit the baseball. Had 13 hits. You know, we kicked it around a little bit, but for the most part, they did the damage, and it wasn’t necessaril­y something that our guys didn’t do. They just hit it, and, you know, we were both down deep in our pitching staff. And that’s what’s gonna happen. We just waited a little too late, and the one big inning … that’s what killed us.”

Fountain Lake never recovered, scoring three in the bottom of the fifth to pull within 9-4. The Cobras did have some fortune in the top of the fourth as Abe Rose used just three pitches to escape the inning unscathed, but they were unable to have a single player reach in the bottom of the inning.

“I thought the momentum was starting to change right there, but, you know, the message to the kids was, we wouldn’t trade two (Saturday) for one (Friday) because we wouldn’t be here (Saturday),” McArthur said. “We won the one that we had to win, and we’re still here. Only 12 teams are gonna be playing (this) week, and we’re one of them. To me at the end of the day, that’s the most important thing. We’ll have our pitching staff back up for the state tournament, and hopefully, this’ll help us lock in and focus a little more, be ready to take care of business and make a run.”

Star City stretched its lead with three unearned runs after a single error, the only one of the game, allowed three runs to score.

The Cobras did not lie down as four of their first five batters reached, two scoring on passed balls before Evan East hit an RBI double up the middle with two outs to put Campbell in scoring position. Kolt Carden got a perfect first pitch, lining the barrel up, but the ball dropped directly into the glove of right fielder Max Reese to end the game.

Carden picked up the loss for the Cobras, giving up 5 earned runs off 6 hits while striking out 2 in 2 1/3 innings. Hayden Cotten pitched a partial inning in relief, allowing 4 earned runs off 2 hits and 3 walks, and Rose finished out the game with 3 unearned runs off 5 hits and 1 walk while striking out 3 in 4 1/3 innings.

Rose and Riley led the Cobras at the plate with two hits and a run scored each. Riley had a double and an RBI, Cotten had 2 RBIs to got with his hit, East had an RBI double, and Preston Taylor had a hit and 1 RBI.

Dillon McBryde earned the win for the Bulldogs, giving up 4 earned runs off 4 hits and 2 walks while striking out 4 in 4 1/3 innings. Christian Carnal worked 2 1/3 innings in relief, allowing 3 earned runs off 2 hits, 2 hit batters and a walk while striking out 1, and Hayden Dean allowed a single hit in his partial inning.

J.C. Tollison led Star City at the plate, with 3 hits, a run scored and 2 RBIs. Ty Grayson and Carnal had 2 hits and 3 RBIs each while McBryde had 2 hits. Carnal, McBryde and Logan Raley had a double each.

The Bulldogs will face 4A-North 2-seed Harrison in the first round of the state tournament at Nashville Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

 ?? The Sentinel-Record/James Leigh ?? ■ Fountain Lake shortstop Abe Rose misses the tag on Star City’s Max Reese during Saturday’s 4A-South Regional consolatio­n final at Malvern.
The Sentinel-Record/James Leigh ■ Fountain Lake shortstop Abe Rose misses the tag on Star City’s Max Reese during Saturday’s 4A-South Regional consolatio­n final at Malvern.

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