CONWAY -- Winning is not quite as big a deal in high school all-star games as it ordinarily is for the kind of players who qualify for them, but it still matters.
The matter of bragging rights gets brought up a lot.
The West All-Stars got them early with a 7-6 victory over the East All-Stars in the first game of a doubleheader in the Arkansas High School Coaches Association All-Star baseball game at Bear Stadium on Friday night.
The West completed the doubleheader sweep with a 6-0 victory in the second game.
"We've all played against each other in high school and in the playoffs, or we've played together in the summers, so this is a lot about bragging rights," said West catcher Cason Tollett, a University of Arkansas signee from Little Rock Christian.Gallery: High School All-Stars Day 1 - Baseball, Volleyball, Soccer
"If you're a player, it doesn't matter if it's baseball, Wiffle Ball, or tiddlywinks, you want to win," said West Coach Matt Long, the head coach at Morrilton. "You want to win the game, but in these games, you don't want to do anything to compromise anyone on your squad, and we want to situate the lineups so that everyone gets an equal chance to play."
In the first game, the East took a 4-0 lead through two innings with one run in the first inning and three in the second.
East catcher John Hoskyn, an Arkansas State signee from Stuttgart, had an RBI in the first with a deep sacrifice fly to center field and another in the second on a single that scored East starting pitcher Zane Ryne Neves from third. Neves had the first RBI of the second with a double.
"We knew going in that both teams were awesome, but we still wanted to win," Hoskyn said. "Now, they get a little more bragging rights, but mostly we're out here to have fun. This was our last chance to play in a high school game."
Neves, an Arkansas signee from Jonesboro, held the West hitless through the first two innings. Just one batter reached base, Nashville shortstop Tristen Jamison on an error with two outs in the second inning.
Neves struck out one and limited the West to a ground out and four fly-ball outs.
The West began to get to Neves in the third inning. With one out, he gave up a single to left fielder Justin Scott and walked the next two batters. Neves was relieved by Braden Withrow of Sylvan Hills, who struck out the first batter he faced. The next batter, Josh Albat of Vilonia, reached on an error that scored Scott from third.
When Neves was pulled, the temperature in Conway was 93 with a heat index of 105, according to the National Weather Service.
Neves said fatigue from the heat, a long baseball season for Jonesboro, and recent work in preparation for the coming fall baseball season at Arkansas combined to weaken him.
"I pitched pretty good early, but I really starting slowing down there at the end," Neves said.
East Coach Travis Queck of Bryant, said all-star games are about far more than winning. Nevertheless, he knows why his players play.
"When it comes to competition, these guys are at the highest level in the state," Queck said. "They want to win every at-bat, every pitch. They want to win in every situation. These guys right here, they're in it to win it."
West center fielder Landry Wilkerson of Van Buren makes a diving catch during the state high school All-Star baseball game Friday at Bear Stadium in Conway.
Sports on 06/22/2019
Print Headline: West gets baseball bragging rights