Baseball: Grace, Adams lift Har-Ber to sweep of West

Posted: April 14, 2017 at 1 a.m.

SPRINGDALE -- Springdale Har-Ber perhaps didn't play its sharpest baseball this week against Bentonville West, but the Wildcats completed a sweep of the Wolverines Thursday and coach Ron Bradley will take it.

Har-Ber used a three-run fifth inning to seal a tough 4-2 win against West at the Tyson Complex. Bradley's club improves to 12-6 overall and 6-2 in 7A-West play as it travels to Springfield, Mo., this weekend for four games.

7A-West Conference Baseball

Bentonville West^200^000^0 —2^8^3

Springdale Har-Ber^100^030^x —4^8^0

Grace and Rasmussen; Jenkins, McDonald (6) and Carter. W - Grace. L - Jenkins. Save - None. HR - Gloeckler, West; Adams, Har-Ber.

"We did what we had to do to keep us in the race," Bradley said. "We need to improve ourselves this weekend. We hold our own destiny. They key is to play good baseball and in this league you just can't afford to get swept. Bentonville swept us and kind of put us behind the 8-ball, so now we've got to play one game at a time.

"We're looking forward to the next three weeks as the conference unfolds."

Har-Ber starting pitcher Caleb Grace blew through the first two batters he faced Thursday, striking out both. He then had to battle through a difficult sequence in which he took a line drive off the chest from the bat of Will Jarrett and surrendered a two-run home run to Jason Gloeckler.

Despite taking the body blow, Grace remained in the game to throw a complete game. Grace scattered six hits and struck out seven -- five through two innings. To cap his day he recorded a double during Har-Ber's big fifth inning.

"My dad taught me from a young age that the worst stuff can happen to you in one inning, but you keep throwing strikes," Grace said. "It's one of those things where you can't let things like that get to you. If you let it eat you up you won't be able to play this game very long."

Grace was picked up in the top of the fifth inning by centerfielder Blake Adams, who, with two outs and West leading 2-1, threw to catcher Lincoln Rasmussen for the final out at the plate. The play shifted the momentum of the game, Bradley said, and prevented West from taking a 3-1 lead.

"I saw the ball coming at me, I charged it hard and saw the runner round third," Adams said. "I thought I sailed it at first, but I guess God just brought it back down."

Adams then gave the Wildcats the lead for good in the home fifth with a solo home run -- his second of the year -- to left. His no-doubter followed Blake Thompson's unorthodox run to tie the game, 2-2. Thompson's check-swing single and a pair of West errors allowed him to round the bases and score.

Rasmussen then added a sacrifice fly to set the final score. Adams, though, went back to Grace's effort on the mound after the win.

"He's a tough kid. He pitched really good," Adams said. "He had a lot of movement on his ball."

West falls to 8-10 overall and 0-8 in conference play. Wolverines starter Jaron Jenkins pitched admirably, but took the loss after surrendering eight hits and four runs -- three earned -- in five innings while striking out three. Jarrett, Gloeckler and Seth Schoenauer each recorded two hits for West in the loss.

Har-Ber returns to conference play on Tuesday against league-leading Fayetteville at Arvest Ballpark.

Siloam Springs 4, Clarksville 3

Chance Junkermann ripped an opposite field two-out, two-run double in the seventh inning to lift Siloam Springs to a 5A/6A Conference victory on Thursday at James Butts Baseball Park.

Siloam Springs trailed 3-2 going to the bottom of the seventh, but with one out Chandler Cook reached on an infield hit and Eli Hawbaker was hit by a pitch.

Dawson Armstrong struck out for the second out, but the left-handed hitting Junkermann jumped on the first pitch -- an outside fastball. Cook scored easily to tie the game and Hawbaker scored all the way from first as Siloam Springs snapped a three-game losing streak.

"That's the thing you've got to love," Junkermann said. "It's a win in the book."

Four errors in the first three innings put Siloam Springs (9-11, 4-5) in a 3-0 hole against a Clarksville team that it beat 12-1 in five innings in Clarksville on March 14.

Hayden Koch had two RBIs in that stretch for Clarksville while Cameron Patterson also had an RBI.

Siloam Springs pulled within 3-2 in the bottom of the third. Taylor Pool walked to open the inning and Cook singled. A shallow fly ball to right field by Hawbaker scored Pool, and Cook scored on a groundout by Armstrong to make it 3-2.

After allowing the three early runs, Josh Hunt pitched four scoreless innings to close the game. Hunt (2-2) picked up the win and allowed six hits.

"Only three runs given up by Josh," Junkermann said. "He pitched a (heck) of a game."

Siloam Springs hosts Bentonville West today in a nonconference game. The Wolverines defeated the Panthers 6-5 on March 1.

Prairie Grove 10, Gentry 2

Clay Fidler tripled and drove in three runs to lead the Tigers.

Fidler was 2-for-3 to lead a 13-hit Prairie Grove attack. Reed Orr was also 2-for-3 and Silas Myane was 3-for-4 with a double. Cole Speed and Couper Allen each had two hits.

Orr earned the complete-game win with nine strikeouts.

Sports on 04/14/2017