SPRINGDALE HAR-BER 4, BRYANT 1
A victim of "hard luck" all season -- and in his first at-bat Friday -- Kirby Jenkins found some redemption in his second plate appearance during the Class 7A quarterfinals.
Jenkins blooped a two-out single into left field in the third inning to drive in two runs in helping Springdale Har-Ber turn back Bryant 4-1 at Vince DeSalvo Stadium in North Little Rock.
"Kirby's kind of been a hard luck guy all year," Har-Ber Coach Ron Bradley said. "He's one of those guys who's a good player. He came up in a quality situation. He had great [at-bats] today. It was good to see him get rewarded after being robbed the first time up."
Har-Ber (29-4) advances to today's semifinals against Cabot/Van Buren.
The bases were loaded with two outs the first two times Jenkins came to the plate against Bryant. In the first inning, he smashed a line drive into the glove of shortstop Coby Greiner. In the third inning, Jenkins got just enough bat on the ball to send it into shallow left field to give the Wildcats a 3-0 lead.
Jenkins came into the game with only 18 RBI and batting .227.
"It's been tough," said Jenkins, who also drew a walk and scored in the sixth inning for the Wildcats' final run. "You just have to overcome it, look past it and go to the next at-bat."
Har-Ber rode the right arm of Blake Adams to eliminate Bryant (21-10). Adams limited the Hornets to 3 hits, striking out 9 and walking 2 in a complete-game victory.
Bryant lead-off batter Logan Chambers -- who was 2 for 2 with a walk -- opened the game with a single off Adams, but the Hornets' base runner was left stranded at third.
"Our guys competed," Bryant Coach Travis Queck said. "We were a little bit outmanned but I tell you what, they didn't act like it or treat it like we were. They hung in there, gave us some chances. There were a couple of times we had runners at third base. We've just got to find ways to get that run across."
"A guy that's got a power arm needs to find his comfort zone in the first inning," Bradley said. "We dodged a bullet in the first inning. We dodged another bullet late. They weren't able to get the two-out hit and we were. That's the difference in the state tournament."
Jenkins was at the plate when Mac McCroskey came home on a wild pitch for Har-Ber's first run. Jenkins followed with his single to make it 3-0.
Bryant scored its run in the sixth. Jake Wright doubled, and courtesy runner K.J. Merriweather advanced to third on a ground ball and scored on a balk.
Sports on 05/12/2018
Print Headline: Har-Ber hitter gets stroke of luck