Two things will be key in order for the Benton Lady Panthers to be successful is their hitting and their aggressiveness at the net, especially on defense.
âI think hitting is one of our strengths,â coach Brandy Chumley said.
âBut we are also going to have to improve on our defense.â
Chumley said she is currently trying to implement a new defense by taking away different angles and covering different arears.
âAgain with so many changes, we are just trying to work and improve,â Chumley said.
âI think we will have a successful year and we should be competitive.â
Raynham, Mass., manager Eric Wensley conceded his team may have had some first-game jitters against a good South Lexington team when they kicked off play in the Cal Ripken Major/60 World Series on Friday.
On Saturday, it was obvious Raynhamâs jitters were gone.
Despite getting a slight scare from Benton, Ark., in the form of a 3-run sixth inning, Raynham did enough to hold on for its first tournament win, leaving the Riverway Sports Park with a 9-6 victory Saturday.
The Central California State champions bounced
back from a loss in Game 1 of the Cal Ripken Major/60 World Series to defeat
the Southwest Regional champions in five innings.
Buchanan benefitted from some wild pitching from Benton, drawing 10 walks.
Buchanan finished with just five hits.
Leading the way was No. 9 hitter Blake Wells, who went 2-for-3 with a double
and two RBIs. Reese Wells chipped in going 1-for-2 with a double and two runs scored, Marcus Mele went 1-for-1 with two walks and two runs scored and
Ryan Bray went 1-for-2 with two runs scored.
LITTLE ROCK â With just three weeks until the annual rivalry game between Benton and Bryant, the two teams hosted a press conference at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock to promote the annual Salt Bowl.
Last year, Bryant defeated Benton 45-9 in front of an attendance of 20,206 but Benton holds the overall record of 24-13-1 in the series. Bryant, however, has defeated Benton for the past five years.
BENTON â New softball coach Heidi Cox is anxious to get underway. Too bad for her, the season doesnât start until the Spring.
âI almost wish softball was a fall sport, so we could go ahead and get started,â Cox said Thursday night at the Benton High School Cafeteria during a meet and greet for all the parents, fans and players.
âI am excited about taking over,â Cox said.
Heidi Cox, the new Benton softball coach, will be introduced to the public Thursday night at 8 p.m. in the Benton High School Cafeteria.
âI thought she has a proven background not only as a player at the collegiate level, but the 6A Level and the 6A South Conference,â Benton athletic director Steve Quinn said. âShe is a quality person with a good family and a good work ethic,â Quinn. âI felt like she will be a good asset to the community and school district.â
Cox is a graduated of Arkansas High School in Texarkana.
You never hear a father tell his son âStrive for secondâ or âDo everything you can to finish second.â The same should be applied to Major League Baseball. But it seems every year once a team realizes it canât win a division, it aims for the wild card position.
Why wouldnât they? Winning the wild card is just as good as winning the division.
There is penalty or drawback of winning the wild card. If a team wins the wild card, they have just as good of a chance to win the World Series as a team that wins their division.
In the first-ever all Saline County regional, the Benton 9-year-olds defeated Bryant in the Cal Ripken Southwest Regional with a score of 4-0 in the final.
Bentonâs Peyton Pallette took control of the game early and finished with a complete game one-hit shutout over Bryant, who reached the tournament finals after defeating Little Rock Junior Deputy 6-3.
âThey had their ace going. It was a great game,â Bryant coach Clint Hilson said.
âWe were really impressed with him and just couldnât hit him.
Bryantâs only hit came in the fifth inning with a hit up a middle by Trey McKim.
The 9-year-old Cal Ripken Regional, that was originally played in Hattiesburg, Miss., was rained out July 27. Since the four remaining teams were from Arkansas, the finals were moved to Bentonâs Bernard Holland Park. The Benton 9s, coached by Shane Pigue, were the number one seed going into bracket play after 4-0 in pool play and was chosen to host the final two games.
âWe set a goal to do that, because not many teams have won regionals for Benton,â Pigue said. âTim Bennettâs team has won three-in-a-row but no other Benton team has won a regional before.
âIt is kind of crazy.â
Several Benton and Saline County residents showed off their hunting skills for a television program, which aired all last week.
Randy West, of Benton, was contacted by Freddy King of Cherokee Sports last July and he wanted to know if he could film a duck hunting show.
âHe pretty much wanted to tell the story of how passionate the sport can be,â West said. âHe saw all my Facebook pictures of ducks and he came down and filmed us and interviewed me.â
The show also featured: Chad Taylor, Zach Esry, Brian Moore, Trevor West, Trey West, Tim Wacov, Chris Reynolds and Zach Davis.