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The Benton Panthers defeated El Dorado 16-6 Friday night to move into a second place tie in the conference with Lake Hamilton after they lost Texarkana.
"It is a log jam, and I knew it would be," head coach Mark Balisterri said. "Our goal is to get the number one or number two spot. If we get second, we will still get a bye in the first round.
"That's what we are shooting for."
Benton broke a 4-4 tie in the top of the sixth inning, scoring seven runs to give the Panthers a 11-4 lead.
Carson Holloway and Matthew Krikorian hit back-to-back home runs to start off the sixth inning and give Benton a 6-4 lead. Greg Pryor followed with a double and scored thanks to a triple by Garrison Roy.
Roy scored on an RBI single by Taylor Schmidt, who advanced to second on a single by Brooks Balisterri. A double by Ashton Roberts plated Schmidt.
Back-to-back strikeouts gave the Panthers two outs, but a single by Holloway scored two more runs. Krikorian singled again before the inning ended on a ground out.
Krikorian had five hits in the game and was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
"He was on fire today," Balisterri said. "He had a career day. He had a great day at the plate, and he made a great play defensively in the seventh inning.
"They hit a sharp ground ball to third, he dove, caught it and threw the guy out at first. It was a lot of fun to see that kind of success at the plate."
Krikorian had two doubles, two singles and a home run.
"He just doesn't have a lot of hold in his swing," Balisterri said. "He has a pretty compact, quick swing. If he waits on his pitch, he has a chance."
Benton took a 1-0 lead in the first inning thanks to an RBI double by Stuart Levy which scored Roberts, who hit a one-out single.
Benton picked up two more runs in the second after Schmidt hit a two-run home run.
Levy also hit a three-run home run in the top of the seventh as Benton scored five to eventually win 16-6.
Benton had 20 hits in the game against El Dorado and committed just one error. El Dorado had six hits with one error.
"We played real good defense today," Balisterri said.
Benton will play Vilonia at home Monday beginning at 4:30 p.m.