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 Travsâ€™ loss.
BENTON â€“ 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.
â€śItâ€™s a big day for me,â€ť Riley said. â€śIâ€™m glad that I made it this far. Itâ€™s a big step in life.â€ť
BENTON â€“ 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. Â 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). Â
LITTLE ROCK â€“ After storms on Friday, the Bryant Hornetsâ€™ 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 â€“ 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.
BAUXITE â€“ After losing their previous two games, the Bauxite Miners picked up a 4-2 win over the Episcopal Wildcats in non-conference play on Thursday in Bauxite. The Miners received good fundamental play, pitching and defense to hold on for the win.
â€śWe were real solid on defense and we bunted the ball real well,â€ť Bauxite Coach Michael Mattox said. â€śWe got two great bunts from our three-hole hitter and we got another good bunt from Blake Yates and thatâ€™s what got us going.â€ť
BRYANT â€“ The Bryant Lady Hornets had no problem in dispensing the Little Rock Central Lady Tigers with a 10-0 victory in 7A Central conference action on Thursday in Bryant. The win put the Lady Hornetsâ€™ streak at 28 wins in a row, dating from last season. Bryant is now 25-0 overall and 8-0 in the 7A Central on the season.
Despite a long layoff, the Lady Hornets, two-time defending state champions, did what they do best â€“ win.
HASKELL - The Harmony Grove Lady Cardinals had a bumpy road through the weekend with three losses, snapping a healthy winning streak. On Monday, the pot holes got bigger as the Lady Cardinals lost their first conference game of the season 2-1 to Fountain Lake, the worst team in the 3A South.
After being down 4-0 early on Tuesday against Bismarck, a team that beat them early in the season, the Lady Cardinals used every bit of fight and heart to battle back for the one run, 5-4 victory.
PEARCY â€“ The Benton Panthers made it 10 wins in a row when they traveled to Lake Hamilton and took down the Wolves 9-6 in 6A South conference play on Wednesday. The Panthers outhit the Wolves 14-8.
â€śWe had a good win,â€ť Benton Coach Mark Balisterri said. â€śIt was the first time we beat Lake Hamilton in six games. Basically it was the first time in three years that we beat them. It was a big win for us.â€ť
BAUXITE â€“ Lack of defense and hitting led to a 6-0 Bauxite Miners loss to the Benton Freshmen Panthers on Monday in Bauxite. Bauxite Coach Michael Mattox summed up his teamâ€™s performance.
â€śSix errors,â€ť he started. â€śSix errors on the field; six runs. At some point they correlate. Itâ€™s the story of our past couple weeks.â€ť
Freshmen Panthers starter Jared Barker had something to with the Miners lack of hitting as he pitched five and two-third shutout innings giving up just one hit. Barker walked three and struck out two in 80 pitches.