Bauxite starts conference play with wins
Both the Bauxite baseball and softball teams are off to a 1-0 start in 4A-7 Conference play after beating Oak Grove Monday.
The Miners (8-5, 1-0) won 12-3 in seven innings behind solid pitching from junior Ryan Weng, who had a complete game with only 79 pitches.
Bauxite baseball head coach Michael Mattox said, “He worked very efficiently. It didn’t seem like he had complete command, but he’s such a competitor that even on his off days he’s effective.”
Weng gave up five hits and three runs, two of which were earned. He recorded three strikeouts with three walks.
Mattox said the Miners allowed runners on base from time to time throughout the game, “but he’d pitch his way out of it.”
“Any time you keep it under 80 pitches, you’re in control,” he said.
Offensively, the Miners saw seniors Austin Harris and Tanner Bates switch spots in the batting lineup, with Harris sliding down to leadoff and Bates being bumped up to the “three hole,” Mattox said.
“It turned out to be a good move.”
Harris batted three of five with one run-batted-in, and Bates was 2-4 with four RBIs, including a home run to right field in the first inning.
“That was one of the hardest hit balls I’ve ever seen,” Mattox said.
Sophomore Tyler Willis normally bats No. 3, but has been on the disabled list since being hit in the wrist by a pitch during last week’s Extra Innings Spring Classic invitational tournament in Jonesboro.
Mattox said Willis’ wrist is not broken. However, he will not return to the lineup until the “end of this week, or maybe early next week.”
Senior Briar Sample was 1-3 with a sacrifice and walk. Sophomore Tyler Hill reached base in all four trips to the plate, once on a walk and three times after being hit by a pitch — once with bases loaded, bringing in a run.
“We put together some runs and took advantage of some of their mistakes,” Mattox said. “I want us to be a little more aggressive with a lead late in the game ... finishing it off instead of letting teams hang around.
“We really should’ve had it earlier.”
The Miners lead 4-1 after two innings, and 8-3 after the fifth inning. They held Oak Grove scoreless for the rest of the game and scored two runs in the sixth and seventh innings.
The Lady Miners (6-4, 1-0) won 19-4 in five innings thanks in part to a solid effort by sophomore Allie Beech — offensively and defensively.
Beech pitched all five innings for the Lady Miners, giving up five runs and four hits while striking out two and walking five.
Bauxite softball head coach Wes Mode said, “Allie did a great job pitching.”
He said, “She threw strikes, and that’s really all I wanted her to do. We made a couple of errors behind her, but ended up finishing 15 of 29 from the plate.”
Senior Elizabeth Harris nearly hit for the cycle, batting 3-4 with a single, double and triple. Harris had three RBIs.
Beech went 2-3 with three RBIs, and freshman Amy Etheridge was 3-5 with four RBIs.
“They swung the bat well,” Mode said. “Almost everyone got a hit.”
After two innings, the Lady Miners lead 4-0. In the top of the third, they scored nine runs. After giving up one run to Oak Grove, the Lady Miners scored five more in the top of the fourth inning, giving them a 18-1 lead going into the bottom of the fourth, where Oak Grove would score three.
The Lady Miners then scored one run in the top of the fifth. After Oak Grove failed to rally, the game was called after five innings.
Weather prevailing, the Lady Miners will host Harding Academy at 4:30 p.m. today for a non-conference game. Their game against Abundant Life, which was scheduled for Thursday, has been canceled.
The Miners are scheduled to host Jessieville at 4:30 p.m. today. Unlike the Lady Miners, the Miners’ Thursday game against Abundant Life, which is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. in Bauxite, will still be played, Mattox said.