CENTERTON -- An ejection, a broken leg and Cody Smith's RBI double was the difference in Fayetteville's 5-2 win over Rogers High at Bentonville West on Friday.
The Purple'Dogs (18-13) advance to the 7A state semifinals and will play Springdale Har-Ber today at noon at Bentonville High.
Smith was 3-for-3 and his slicing hit to right field broke a 2-2 tie to highlight a three-run sixth inning. Smith's hit should have been a two-run triple, but Smith had to go back to second base when pinch runner Teddy Asp was held up at third. A throw to second base allowed Asp to score to make it 4-2. Jackson Sloan looped a Texas Leaguer into short right-center field to score Smith for the final run.
"We were fortunate to get the big inning because we really didn't sting the ball very well there," said Fayetteville coach Scott Gallagher. "To have (Smith) have success on the big stage here, you couldn't ask for anything more than that. He put in the time and the effort and it paid off."
Barrett Baninster, who scored the winning run, reach on an leadoff error. That, along with the throw that allowed Asp to score, was difficult for Rogers High coach Matt Melson to swallow.
"It's kind of tough to take right now, but we battled," Melson said. "We made some unforced errors there in the sixth that got to us. That's what happens in these games. The team that makes the fewest mistakes wins and they did that."
The Mounties (16-12) took a 2-0 lead when Grayson Lee and Jeb Sample drove in runs in the top of the third. However, Lee tried to score on Sample's hit to right and was ejected after running into Fayetteville catcher Alex Blagg. That caused a shake-up in Rogers' outfield because Lee plays centerfield. That defensive switch allowed Smith to reach on what was ruled a double in the bottom of the third before later scoring on Quin Rudzinski's single.
The next inning, Banister reached when his pop-up to left field was dropped. He later scored on an single by Smith to tie it at 2-2. The left fielder was inserted into the game after Lee's ejection and he collided with freshman shortstop Sal Jacobo in foul territory, which reportedly broke Jacobo's right leg.
In other words, the ejection led to more issues than Rogers simply losing its best hitter in Lee, who had two hits.
"I didn't think it was the right call," Melson said. "There was nothing malicious about the play. If it was malicious, get the kid out of the game, but there's not a less malicious kid in the world than Grayson Lee."
Fayetteville starter Miller Pleimann struck out nine and allowed two earned runs on six hits in 5 2/3s innings before being relieved by Greydon Turner, who retired the final four batters in order to record the win.
Cabot 3, Little Rock Catholic 1
Evan Hooper's two-run single in the bottom of the sixth inning snapped a 1-1 tie and Panthers second baseman Kyler Franks made a diving catch in foul territory to sent Cabot into the semifinals.
Franks made a great running catch with runners on the corners and two outs, despite crashing into teammate Brodey Schluter.
"I think he lost that battle though," Cabot coach Ronnie Goodwin said. "That was kinda the bow tie on the kinda day it was. It was just a weird day from the get-go. It was a tough day to hit. We hit two balls int the teeth of the wind. On a warmer day, those balls might carry out.
"I'm proud of our team because when stuff starts happening like that, the other team feels like they have chance to win. Our guys competed."
Little Rock Catholic put two runners on in the seventh. But when the Rockets Evan Hiatt walked that sent Cabot starting pitcher Logan Gilbertson (6-3) from the game because of the pitch count limit. However, reliever Michael Shepherd retired Catholic cleanup man Luke Wewers thanks to Franks' nice play.
Cabot (23-7), the 7A-Central champion, will now face Bryant today in the first semifinal today at noon at the Tiger Athletic Complex in Bentonville.
Bryant 9, Bentonville 8
The Hornets (19-9) scored five runs in the final two innings, then held off a late rally to advance to the semifinals.
Bryant trailed 5-4 after five innings, but managed to work Bentonville starting pitcher Jacob Williams' pitch count up enough to force him out of the game. The No. 3 seed from the 7A-Central put together two walks, a balk and Logan Chambers' run-scoring groundout to tie the game.
Coby Greiner and Scott Schmidt followed with back-to-back run-scoring hits with two outs for a 7-5 lead. Bryant added two more in the seventh to push its lead to 9-5. Bentonville (18-11) rallied with three runs with two outs in the seventh, but could get no more.
Senior Seth Tucker, the lone returning starter for Bryant, picked up the win in relief. He pitched the final four innings, allowing the three seventh-inning runs, while striking out three and walking only one.
Bryant coach Travis Queck said his team did a good job of being patient at the plate to try to run Williams' pitch count up and that resulted in nine walks by Tigers pitchers, six by the Williams.
"We had to do our job and get that first guy out, Williams," Queck said. "That was our whole focus was to compete every at-bat. I just knew if we pushed the button and got him up to that pitch count where we could get to the next guy, I thought we had a chance."
Chambers, who accounted for the lone run in Thursday's win with an inside-the-park home run, went 3-for-5. Cade Lastovica went 3-for-3 with a walk, scored a run and drove in two to lead Bentonville.
Springdale Har-Ber 5, North Little Rock 3
Har-Ber's Blake Adams settled in after a three-run first inning and got plenty offensive support to help the Wildcats advance to the semifinals.
Adams, an Arkansas Razorbacks pledge, shutout the Charging Wildcats (20-9) the rest of the way. He struck out nine and allowed two earned run on six hits for the complete game victory. He retired 10 straight between the third and sixth innings, which gave the offense plenty of time to rally.
"After going down three runs in the first inning, we didn't lose our composure," said Har-Ber coach Ron Bradley. "Blake Adams put six zeroes up on the board and gave us a chance to comeback and win.
"He did a great job of commanding the zone on both sides of the plate."
The Wildcats (21-9) pounded out 13 hits and got going on Mac McCroskey's RBI single in the second. Adams singled and scored to leadoff a three-run fifth inning. They tied the score and took the lead on sacrifice flies by Caleb Grace and Lincoln Rasmussen before adding an insurance run in the sixth on Grace's RBI double.
"Even in the first inning, we swung the bat real well and they just made nice plays," Bradley said. "We needed out bats to come alive today and they did."
North Little Rock grabbed the early lead on a two-run double by Reed Shepherd and an RBI single by Owen Stuckey.
Adams, Grace, Rasmussen, McCroskey and Jacob Williams had two hits apiece for Har-Ber.
Sports on 05/13/2017
Print Headline: Fayetteville wins wild one over Rogers