Panthers take down Pine Bluff
Benton handed Pine Bluff an 11-1 loss in five innings Friday.
Head coach Mark Balisterri said, "Believe it or not, it was a tough game for us."
Balisterri said, after winning big against El Dorado, Vilonia and McClellan, he didn't want his players to get cocky.
"You do that and sometimes you start thinking, 'Hey, we're great and can't be beat.' Well, they didn't do that," he said.
Sophomore Coulton Lee pitched all five innings for the Panthers, allowing one run in the first inning. He struck out eight batters while giving up two hits, one walk and one hit-by-pitch.
"He's still not in complete command like he was two or three weeks ago," Balisterri said. "But he's learning how to pitch when he doesn't have his best stuff.
"When he gets down, he doesn't get rattled," Balisterri said, adding that Pine Bluff scored its only run early in the game.
"He could've faltered right there, but he held himself together," Balisterri said.
Offensively for the Panthers, senior Stuart Levy batted 3-4 with a home run, double, single and walk. He had three RBIs.
Junior Brooks Balisterri was 3-4 with a double and two singles (one a bunt), scoring three times with one RBI. Senior Ashton went 3-4 with a double and two singles (one a bunt), scoring twice with one RBI. Senior Joseph Henry was 1-4, reaching base on a double a fielder's choice. He scored twice with one RBI.
The Panthers scored one run in the first inning when a Roberts single brought in Balisterri.
In the third inning, Henry brought in sophomore Taylor Schmidt on a fielder's choice single. Then, Henry scored on a wild pitch, and sophomore Carson Holloway brought in Balisterri on a sacrifice fly, which left the score 4-1 after three.
The Panthers scored two more in the fourth inning off back-to-back doubles — Henry bringing in Roberts and Levy bringing home Henry.
The fifth inning saw Benton score five runs, which brought the score to 11-1 and forced the umpires to call the game.
Balisterri singled to score junior Garrison Roy, and Roberts doubled to bring in Balisterri.
Then, Levy hit a two-run home run, which scored him and Roberts, leaving the score 10-1.
With two outs, junior Greg Pryor singled to plate Holloway, and the game was called.
Although the Panthers seemingly scored at will, Benton stranded eight runners on base — twice ending the inning with bases loaded.
"We've got four more, and we've got to have the same approach we did today," Balisterri said.
Benton hosts Lake Hamilton at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday. The Panthers host Malvern Thursday, then travel to Texarkana Friday. Finally, Benton hosts Sheridan Wednesday, April 27.