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story.lead_photo.caption Sheridan first baseman Tyler Cacciatori (left) reacts after forcing out Vilonia’s Caden Raeburn to end the game in Sheridan’s 6-2 victory in the Class 5A state baseball tournament Friday in Benton. See more photos at - Photo by Thomas Metthe

BENTON -- Sheridan's patience paid off on a day when the Yellowjackets' offense was sparse.

The Yellowjackets used 3 hits and 5 walks to score 6 runs in the fifth inning to take a 6-2 victory over the Vilonia Eagles in the Class 5A state quarterfinals at Everett Field.

Senior Ruston Johnson lined a double to left field to start the fifth inning and drove in a run later in the inning with a walk to send the Yellowjackets (24-5) into today's semifinals against White Hall.

Vilonia sophomore Gram Middleton retired Sheridan's first seven batters and held the Yellowjackets to one hit through four innings, but he was removed after allowing Johnson's double and walking Hayden Hicks to start the fifth inning.

"I told them, 'Hey, look, we've just got to hit the ball, be patient, don't swing at everything they throw up there. Look for your pitch,' " said Sheridan Coach Mike Moore, whose team managed only four hits. "When we did that, we got the walks."

Gallery: Class 5A State Baseball

Middleton had struck out 3 and walked 2 through the first 4 innings, but Vilonia went through four pitchers in the fifth inning.

"We had guys who wanted to be too perfect," Vilonia Coach Brad Wallace said of the five fifth-inning walks. "We kept trying to be too fine in the [strike] zone and going for strikeouts as opposed to getting challenging outs in the field. Gram was successful because he let the defense play behind him."

Sheridan's Jackson Sorey held Vilonia to one hit through three innings, but Jake Goff doubled to start the fourth inning and Turner Holland followed with an RBI single. The Eagles (15-13) scored an unearned run in the top of the fifth to take a 2-0 lead.

Johnson, who singled in his first at-bat, opened the fifth inning with a line shot that went over the head of left fielder Kyle Vines.

"It was probably one of my hardest hit balls all year," Johnson said. "I'm still recovering from shoulder surgery I had during the winter. Just to have that contact and see the ball fly off the bat is a really good feeling."

After the walk to Hicks, Montana Korte reached on a bunt single. Haydn Finley drove in the Yellowjackets' first run with a line single to left. Back-to-back walks to Tyler Cacciatori and Cooper Oliphant gave Sheridan the lead for good.

Trace Watkins followed with a hard-hit ball on the first-base side that went for an infield single. Sheridan's final two runs came home on bases-loaded walks to Johnson and Hicks.

"We had a good bunt. We had a good hit. It was everybody just kind of chipped in to do the little things," Moore said. "There weren't any big blows. We let it come to us."

Sheridan reliever Brandon Arledge picked up the victory. He gave up two hits but retired the final eight batters he faced, including a diving grab of a hard ground ball by Cacciatori at first base to end the game.

First baseman Caden Raeburn singled twice for two of Vilonia's five hits.

Photo by Thomas Metthe
Sheridan pitcher Jackson Sorey held Vilonia to one hit through three innings in Friday’s game in Benton. For more photos, see


Winning pitcher Zack Motsinger singled three times and drove in two runs in leading the Bulldogs (18-11) to a come-from-behind victory over the Razorbacks (15-8).

White Hall scored five runs on six hits in the fifth inning to overcome a 6-5 deficit. Ryan Ruff and Josh Looney each drove in two runs in the fifth inning. Ruff's two-run double put the Bulldogs on top for good. Ruff had driven in a run earlier in the game with a ground ball.

Motsinger gave up 9 hits, but only 3 of the 6 runs he allowed were earned. He struck out two, walked two and hit a batter. Woody Raines pitched a perfect seventh to pick up the save.

Drake Browning singled, doubled twice and tripled for four of the Razorbacks' 10 hits. Brown drove in two runs with a double to the left-field corner. Jackson Harris drove in two runs with a pair of singles.


Senior Jesse Barker struck out 10 and tossed a two-hitter with no walks as the host Panthers (22-5) earned a victory over the Cyclones (19-10).

Barker retired the first 10 batters he faced before giving up a fourth-inning single to Cole Dawson.

Triston Hawkins hit a two-run double, Logan Easterling drove in runs with singles in the first and third innings, and Peyton Hudgins drove in two runs with a ground ball and a sacrifice fly for Benton.


Catcher Cason Tollett belted a home run and drove in four runs as the Warriors (22-4) defeated the Rams (20-10) in the quarterfinals of the Class 5A state tournament.

Lakeside's Ryan Robinson was tagged out at the plate for the game's final out. With the bases loaded, Jesus Minjarez had just taken ball three. Robinson began jogging toward the plate, and Tollett alertly put the tag on him as he entered the batter's box.

The Warriors (22-4) won for the 14th consecutive time to advance to today's semifinals against host Benton.

Tollett singled in runs in his first two at-bats, then slugged a two-run home run over the 375-foot sign in center field. Sophomore Reid Bowman drove in two runs with an infield single in a three-run second inning.

Junior Brady Prince singled three times for Lakeside, which finished with seven hits.

Sports on 05/11/2019

Print Headline: Sheridan waits on run outburst

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