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Benton scores 31, tosses 2 no-hitters in doubleheader

May 2, 2012

With the 2012 regular season coming to a close for many high school softball teams across the state, the Benton Lady Panthers are trying to keep the momentum in their favor before heading into the 6A State Tournament that begins on May 10. Coming into Friday’s match against Pine Bluff, the Lady Panthers were the proud owners of a 24-2 overall record, an undefeated 6A South record of 11-0 and a three-game winning streak.

Miners run out of steam

May 2, 2012

MALVERN – Coming off of a 10-7 11-inning win against the Maumelle Hornets in the first round of the 7-4A District Tournament on Wednesday in Malvern, the No. 7 seed Bauxite Miners had nothing left for the No. 3 seed De Queen Leopards on Friday, losing 11-1 in the quarterfinals. The Leopards had a bye in the first round, so they were rested and fresh, something Bauxite Coach Michael Mattox knew was going to be a challenge.

“We were just wore out, lost our focus and they took advantage of it,” Mattox said. “[De Queen] hit the ball well. They did a good job.”

Hornets can't get it done

May 2, 2012

BRYANT – The Bryant Hornets dropped a 7A Central conference game when they lost 3-2 to the Van Buren Pointers on Thursday at Hornets Field. The Hornets are now in second place in the conference with Russellville in first by a game, and Conway in third, behind a game of Bryant.

Miners up big, hold on

April 26, 2012

MALVERN – Leading by seven runs after five innings, the No. 7 seed Bauxite Miners allowed the No. 6 seed Maumelle Hornets to tie the game in the last inning, but came away with a 10-7 win in 11 innings in the first round of the 7-4A District Tournament on Wednesday at Morrison Park in Malvern.

“I’m disappointed we couldn’t finish it in the seventh inning,” Bauxite Coach Michael Mattox said, “but for [the Miners] to hang around for four more innings and compete showed me a lot about this team, something I knew was in them, but haven’t seen all year long.”

First place likely out for Panthers

April 26, 2012

SHERIDAN – Vying for first place in the 6A South, the Benton Panthers committed five errors and allowed four unearned runs in a 7-3 loss to the Sheridan Yellowjackets on Wednesday in conference action in Sheridan.

“We struggled. That’s uncharacteristic of us,” Benton Coach Mark Balisterri said of the errors. “We don’t usually make errors like that. As a matter of fact, going through the first round of conference only losing one game; it was because we played great defense.

Walks kill Travelers

April 26, 2012

This column won third place in the 2011 Associated Press Managing Editor Association of Arkansas contest for a sports column. It ran in the Courier on Sept. 26, 2011.

The Arkansas Travelers were swept in the Texas League Championship series by the San Antonio Missions, but the Travs definitely had their chances. The Missions won games one and two by 5-4 scores in San Antonio and came from behind to defeat the Travs 10-6 in North Little Rock on Sept. 16. Walks were a factor in every Travs’ loss.

Panther signs with Bears

April 25, 2012

BENTON – Benton Panthers senior track & field athlete and school record-holder Zach Riley signed a letter of intent to run at the University of Central Arkansas (Conway) on Tuesday afternoon in front of students, friends and family at Benton Arena.

“It’s a big day for me,” Riley said. “I’m glad that I made it this far. It’s a big step in life.”

Jr. Hornets win conference

April 25, 2012

BENTON – The Bryant Jr. Hornets capped off a stellar track season with a conference championship Saturday at the Central Arkansas Junior High Conference Track Championships in Benton.  The Jr. Hornets led the way with a total of 148 points, followed by Lake Hamilton (108), North Little Rock (98), Cabot South (90), Conway White (68), Conway Blue (63), Cabot North (41), and Benton (8).  

Seniors lead Hornets to win in extras

April 23, 2012

LITTLE ROCK – After storms on Friday, the Bryant Hornets’ game with the Little Rock Catholic Rockets was postponed until Saturday at Lamar Porter Field in Little Rock and the Hornets came away with a 3-1 extra-inning victory in 7A Central conference action.

Benton overpowers Texarkana, stays perfect in 6A South

April 23, 2012

BENTON – If there is one team in the 6A conference with a better chance to win the state title than the Benton Lady Panthers, they have not made their way to Lady Panther Park in 2012. Since having their 18-game winning streak snapped last weekend in the Beebe/Searcy Tournament at the hand of Jonesboro Westside, Benton has ran their new streak to four straight after winning their 10th consecutive conference game on Saturday against Texarkana. After Friday was filled with rain and high winds, Benton was forced to reschedule until Saturday, where they won 7-3.

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